The Left parties have urged the people not to pay water and UGD charges.

Addressing a press conference in Vijayawada on Wednesday, CPI city secretary Donepudi Sankar and CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao said that the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) has unilaterally hiked the water charges. The hike was very steep and ranged between 4 per cent and 400 per cent.

Never in the history of corporation, the tariff was hiked so steeply and it automatically is increased by 7 per cent. The water charges would increase with every revision of property tax, they said.

‘A burden’

It was unfortunate that the VMC was levying a burden of Rs. 25 crore on the people. The VMC was already putting a huge burden on various pretexts on the common man. The poor were the worst sufferers as they would not be able buy water at such exorbitant rate. For the poor, the water charges would be Rs.740, while the property tax would be Rs. 150 per annum, they pointed out, adding, the government would not respond unless the people reacted and stop paying the charges.

The corporation, under special officer rule, has no authority to take a policy decision, they opined. Let the proposal be kept on hold until an elected body assumes office. The Congress government had no concern for the people. The Congress government should withdraw the hike and seek the public mandate, they said, adding, they would not keep quiet if the hike was not rolled back.

‘Baseless claims’

The VMC de-linked the water services from property tax going against the rules. It was against the laid down procedures. The water service was one of the components in property tax. The VMC was making baseless claims that the water charges were not hiked since 2004. The property tax was revised twice since 2004. So, the water charges were also revised twice as the water service was part of the property tax, they added.

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