The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has dubbed the hike in water charges unconstitutional.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao said that the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) steeply hiked the water charges when the elected body was not there. The VMC violated the constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights with its moves. The hike would deprive the people of their right to safe drinking water.

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, he pointed out.

Strikingly, the corporation had chosen to hike tariff barely after five days of presenting the budget. 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, he said.

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, he argued, adding the Left parties would launch a massive agitation.

More In: Vijayawada