The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has alleged that Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) officials are harassing the poor and middle classes on the pretext of collecting tax.

The VMC officials, had on the other hand, turned a blind eye to top 100 defaulters whose dues crossed Rs. 30 crore, the party said.

Addressing a press conference on Saturday, CPI (M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao said that affluent people and Government offices figured in the list of big defaulters.

The Corporation authorities were not taking any measures to collect dues from them. Instead, they were threatening the poor and middle classes that drinking water facility etc would be cut if they did not pay taxes immediately and were also freezing assets, he said and adding that the elected representatives were not responding to the plight of the common man.

The VMC had turned into a sinking boat after it implemented the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) in the city. But, the Government had not responded positively to rescue it from the financial doldrums. The State Government had neither released its dues of about Rs. 250 crore under JNNURM nor grants to the city.

The VMC would receive Rs. 200 crore more if the Government shouldered the burden of housing, he said, adding, in all the Government has to release Rs.600 crore to the city. The employees have been demanding that the Government should pay the salaries under 010 head of account i.e., treasury salaries. The government hasn’t responded to it, he said.

Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal and the MLAs from the city have also kept mum on the issue. The public representatives should take initiative as political pressure was required for the release of dues from the Government. They were also requested to prevail upon the VMC officials to stop harassing the commoner in a bid to fill the Corporation coffers, he added.

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