The funds crunch and change in priorities of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation is hitting the salaries of employees. The corporation has not paid salaries to its employees for the last two months.

According to information, the VMC is according top priority in clearing the pending bills of contractors reversing the usual procedure of according top priority to operation and maintenance, salaries, and conservancy articles etc. Till couple of months ago, the contractors' bills used to be at the bottom of order of making payments.

While the funds crunch is stated as prime reason behind the delay, the employees grumble there were other reasons too. The Corporation higher ups, during last month, prepared about 200 cheques towards conservancy articles, and salaries etc. They, however, immediately cancelled those cheques, and cleared bills of contractors, who locked the houses constructed under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) programme for not clearing their bills. As a result, few employees have received their salaries, sources say.

The employees question the rationale behind paying salaries of employees in main office only. The staff working in the circle offices have not received any salaries so far. And, among those who have not received salaries are: Revenue inspectors, bill collectors etc. in revenue wing, building inspectors etc. working in town planning wing, and engineering staff. It tantamount to encouraging corruption among the field staff, employees feel.

In addition, the VMC higher ups, in private, are advising the employees' union to mount pressure on the State government to pay their salaries through treasury. It is learnt that the higher ups told them their visit to Hyderabad would be treated as ‘on duty', and no leave would be marked, sources say. The employees' union already submitted a memorandum to the chief minister urging him in this regard. The corporation had to earmark Rs. 72 crore per annum on salaries of its employees alone. In addition, the VMC would have to shell out another Rs. 20 crore to Rs. 30 crore to pay salaries of contract workers.

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