Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council Dadi Veerabhadra Rao demanded that the Congress government roll back the increase in power tariff that had come into effect from Friday, which would burden the middle class section by an additional Rs. 1,000 crore annually.

VAT decried

The government was putting more burden on the people through the Value Added Tax (VAT), which turned out to be a multi-point tax, the senior Telugu Desam leader said at a press conference. The General Sales Tax the government wanted to reintroduce would be a multi-point tax again. He said that the TDP, during its rule, was forced to introduce reforms in the power sector and increase power tariff due to prevailing conditions.

The then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu declared in the Assembly that the reforms would continue for five years and the tariff would be reduced once the conditions stabilised. “But the Congress, which criticised us as World Bank agent then, did not bother to bring down power tariff as per the conditions of reforms. It went on increasing the tariff. The Congress government received more loan from the World Bank,” he said.

The Congress also failed to keep its election promise that power tariff and taxes would not be increased, he said.

The government was not helping Genco to increase its capacity but allowed many pollution-causing merchant thermal power plants to come up without putting a condition that the power produced must be given to AP first. Mr. Veerabhadra Rao reiterated his demand that the government should not change its MoU with the Hinduja power plant here allowing it to supply only 30 per cent of power to the State.

The Opposition leader said that the government tabled the CAG report on the last day of the Budget session giving no time for the members to go through it as it slammed the government on many issues. Some of the critical remarks made in the report were that the government boosted up the budget figures for the last two years by Rs. 50,000 crore; land allotment to six projects in three cities alone had caused a loss of Rs. 3,000 crore; colluded with contractors of Jalayagnam by releasing Rs. 27,140 crore for 34 projects by revising the estimates and that land scams were noticed in Visakhapatnam and Tirupati.

The government was not allowing the ACB to conduct a detailed inquiry into charges against 750 IAS officers and non-IAS officers because its leaders were behind the corruption, Mr. Veerabhadra Rao alleged.

He demanded that the committee to be constituted by the government on land allotments must be a JLC.

City party president Peela Srinivasa Rao, general secretary Kona Tata Rao, Telugu Mahila president A. Vani, and State Telugu Mahila leader and former Chairperson of Bheemli Municipality K. Prabhavathi were present.

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