A Central team will visit the city on April 3 to study the compliance of reforms by Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC). The proposed visit assumes significance in the wake of Corporation moves to rationalise water charges, under ground drainage (UGD) etc.
The VMC has agreed to implement the reforms when the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) programme was sanctioned. The city has agreed to the conditions, particularly that the corporation would be self-sufficient, and meet its own expenses from the revenues generated in the city.
The fixing of water meters, increase in water cess and revision of the property tax are some other suggestions. The gap between revenues generated and expenditure is keeping the corporation on tenterhooks.
The recovery of expenditure incurred on water supply is a mere 40 per cent through charges.
The Central government has suggested various reforms including recovery of expenditure incurred in water supply and sewerage services. The other major reforms to be implemented are e-governance, double entry system, municipal solid waste (MSW) management. The Corporation is facing rough weather regarding user charges on garbage lifting which is part of MSW management.
It may be recalled that the State government has stopped release of its share and Centre’s share for various reasons.
Non-compliance of reforms and failure to collect the beneficiary contribution (for housing schemes) are some of the reasons cited for stoppage of the funds. In addition, there are audit objections over approval of tenders and awarding of work orders also. The government took a serious view of bypassing the tendering committee while approving the tenders worth above Rs. 10 crore.
The corporation officials are of the view that the reforms are imminent if the government has to release the dues and funds. They also cite the conditions that would come as riders with projects sanctioned under the JNNURM programme.