A ‘Praja Council' by the CPI(M) attracted many a passer-by near Vijayawada Municipal Corporation main office on Friday.

The party replicated the general body meeting on a road adjoining the corporation office. While Satavahana College former principal V. Sambi Reddy donned the role of Mayor, freedom-fighters, representatives of people's organisations, members of the Tax Payers' Association, and CPI(M) leaders acted as members.

Speakers asserted that the VMC Special Officer presented a “non-practical” budget for the second time in a row. The corporation, in its last budget (2011-12) claimed that it would receive Rs. 375 crore under Rajiv Awas Yojana. But, in reality, not a penny was released. In 2012-13 budget, it again stated that the government would release Rs. 100 crore under RAY.

The revised budget estimates of Rs. 406 crore as against budget estimates of Rs. 1,551 crore for developmental works proved that the corporation made unrealistic attempts. The VMC continued to build castles in air, they said.

The speakers said the corporation was leaving no stone unturned to impose taxes on people. They accused the corporation of treating the health care sector as money spinner. People were forced to pay for using walking tracks, they said. Though the budget runs into hundreds of crores of rupees, there were no concrete steps to provide safe drinking water, they alleged.

CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao, Hotel Owners' Association president Pattabhi Ram, noted businessman Ch. S.R.K. Chowdary, Tax Payers' Association secretary M.V. Anjaneyulu, noted doctor Vellanki Sridevi, AIDWA city secretary K. Sridevi, and Consumer Forum leader PVVS Murthy spoke.

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