The leaders of CPI and CPI(M) and members from other like-minded bodies said Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) was functioning like a corporate firm at a round table that was jointly organised by the left parties here on Tuesday. The round table was organised to discuss civic issues, and the leaders opined that the VMC was more into business than service.

Jointly chaired by the CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao and CPI city secretary D. Shankar, various issues such as user charges for garbage lifting and levying of ‘exorbitant’ water charges were discussed at the round table.

Mr. Shankar said that the Government under the garb of economic reforms was burdening the people by hiking the commodity prices and levying various forms of taxes and the VMC was towing the same route.

Mr Babu Rao pointed out that water charges were hiked by 100 to 300 per cent, which was abnormal.

He pointed out that the VMC was claiming that the earnings from water charges were about Rs. 8 crores while the expenditure was over Rs. 20 crores per year.

“There is no proof to support this statement,” he said.

According to the participants at the round table, as per the 586 (3) of Municipal Act, the Commissioner or the Special Officer has no right to increase the water or property taxes without the consent of the Municipal Council.

“The council has been disbanded three years ago and the elections for a fresh council was not held, this itself is against the spirit of the 74 Constitution Amendment. Both the government and the VMC have scant respect for the Constitution and sentiment of the people,” said Shankar.

The participants appealed to citizens to take up a post card campaign highlighting these issue and write to the Chief Minister.

Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce and Industries President V. Ramachandra Rao, Jana Vigyana President Dr. Sadanandam and Tax Payers Association leader Anajaneyulu also spoke.

Former corporators of the left parties participated in the round table.

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