The Communist Party of India-Marxist CPI(M) city unit will launch a door-to-door campaign to urge the people not to pay water and drainage charges.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao said that his party would take up a door-to-door campaign for four days and distribute one lakh pamphlets. The people were requested not to pay their taxes as the hike was unlawful. The people would submit petitions to the commissioner opposing the hike. The VMC hiked the charges when the elected council was not in vogue. The corporation, under special officer rule, has no authority to take a policy decision, he said. The hike was not in accordance with the bylaws and Municipal Act. The VMC should issue a notification, seek objections from the public, and place it before elected council. None of these procedures were followed before hiking the charges. Let the proposal be kept on hold until a new elected body assumes office, he said, adding, the government would not respond unless the people reacted and stop paying the charges.

The Corporation had unilaterally hiked the water charges. The hike was very steep and ranged between 4 per cent and 400 per cent. It was an additional burden of Rs. 25 crore on the people. 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. Never in the history of corporation, the tariff was hiked so steeply and it automatically is increased by 7 per cent.

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