Huge water bills are causing untold miseries to residents of Ajitsingh Nagar, Payakapuram, Kandrika and surrounding areas in the city. The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC)’s move to disconnect water connections was a double whammy for them.
The residents allege that the Corporation has disconnected at least 150 water connections in the division.
The residents, comparing the water bill to property tax, said the bills were double the taxes collected by the Corporation.
The tax was Rs. 150 per half year, while the water bill was Rs. 300; in some other cases, while the tax was Rs. 200 per half year, the water bill stood at Rs. 400.
The VMC was disconnecting the taps because they were unable to clear the dues, they said.
A. Samrajyam, resident of Radha Nagar, said: “the Corporation has already removed the public stand outposts (PSOs) as part of he Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission programme. Now, where do we go to fetch a pail of water?”
“The Corporation officials’ only concern seemed to be augmenting the revenues. The VMC was unable to provide value added services to the citizens.
The roads that were dug for laying the under ground drainage were not restored. The Corporation does not respond even if the street lights were not working. But, it was eager to disconnect the water connections,” says Rajamma, another resident of Radha Nagar.
The VMC officials gave a rosy picture about individual water connections.
The residents, who were dependent on the PSOs, got attracted to free water connections scheme introduced by the Corporation.
The Corporation has shown its true colours and vigorously implementing the reforms, they alleged.
CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao said the VMC had no proper plans to collect the taxes.
It had utterly failed in collecting the mounting dues from government organisations such as Railways, polytechnic, and State guest house. The Railways has not been paying the tax since 1988, while the polytechnic was not paying from 2001. All these dues would touch Rs. 9.35 crore.
However, the VMC has not made any efforts in that direction. Instead, it was targeting the poor, he alleged.