Gandhigiri wins! Raja Rajeswari Nagar residents receive 'clean' khatas
17 November 2010
Residents from 120 houses at Sachidananda Nagara in Raja Rajeswari Nagara Ward gathered this week at the BBMP office to receive their Khata certificates, legally endorsing their rightful ownership of their houses. This is exactly two months after their last meeting with the BBMP Commissioner, Mr. Siddaiah on September 16. On that occasion, the 120 residents had, as an expression of their desperation with the non-issuance of Khatas despite the Court directions, presented the Commissioner with 100 roses as an act of 'Gandhigiri'.
The residents, who organised themselves as 'Sachidananda Nagara Nyayapara Andolana' (SNNA) had been fighting for their right of ownership since April 2005 when the Civil Court of Karnataka issued a Court Order 2355, directing BBMP to issue Khata certificates to all site-owners of Sachidananda Layout. Thereafter, this was followed by a Lokayukta directive to BBMP to implement the Court Order. But no action was forthcoming and the issue had been knotted into bureaucratic tangles. As Mr. Shankara Prasad, who is at the forefront of the SNNA, said, "The delays had been deliberately created. If we had agreed to pay bribes like some other residents of the area did, we would have received the Khatas earlier."
The SNNA has a dedicated website which carries regular updates on the developments. The link for it is: http://nyayapara-andolana.org
This citizens' movement against corruption was actively supported by Loksatta party and civil society organisations as Citizens' Action Forum (CAF), Coalition Against Corruption (CAC) and SmartVote. As Mr. N Udaya Shankara, an SNNA member, mentioned, "The turning point for this struggle was when Loksatta party and other civil society organisations joined in this fight. And not to forget the role of the media that has been so supportive. For the first time after years of fighting for this, we felt we were not alone"
The role played by BBMP Commissioner, Mr. Siddaiah is much appreciated. Justice Santosh Hegde's directive to BBMP to issue khatas strengthened the cause. Present on the occasion, senior Loksatta party member Mr. V C Yogaiah said, "We thank Mr. Siddaiah, Justice Santosh Hede and the BBMP officers who looked at this matter from the citizen's point of view and expediting action."
"This is not the end of this campaign", Mr. Shankara Prasad announced, "After this Market value of khata 'facilitation' racket is bound to take a dive, thanks to solid citizens. This story is living proof that if we demand better governance, we can get it."
Loksatta party and SNNA are committed to supporting active citizens everywhere in their fight against corruption. Now that the ownership of the residents has been settled, Loksatta party demands action against the BBMP officials who repeatedly tried to impede the issuance of Khatas by providing misleading information.
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