Demand rollback of hike in water and UGD charges

The Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Saturday laid a siege to the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) office demanding that the Corporation roll back the hike in water and Under Ground Drainage (UGD) charges.

The Left parties' activists tried to barge into the VMC office after staging the dharna. The police, however, thwarted their attempts. The police cordoned off the VMC office and did not allow anyone to enter the premises. The police bundled the agitators into police vans and shifted them to the Krishnalanka police station.

Earlier, CPI (M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao, CPI city secretary Donepudi Sankar and others, addressing the gathering, said that the Municipal Corporation hiked the water charges when the elected body was not there and violated the constitutionally-guaranteed fundamental rights with its moves.

The hikes imposed a burden of nearly Rs.30 crore on people who were already reeling under the impact of inflation. The hike was very steep and ranged between 4 per cent and 400 per cent. More so, never in the history of Corporation, had the tariff been hiked automatically by 7 per cent. The water charges would increase with every revision of property tax. 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 said.

The Left parties would intensify the agitation if the VMC paid no attention to the genuine demand of the public, they said.

More In: Vijayawada