Issue of PPP model figures in general body meeting
26 'yes' votes as against 24 no's Officials treating public property as `jagirs': CPI leader
VIJAYAWADA: The issue of public-private partnership model for taking up projects in the city figured in the general body meeting of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation for the third successive time on Monday.
Opposing the notification issued by Municipal Commissioner Natarajan Gulzar calling for `expression of interest' in developing a shopping complex on Besant Road, a multiplex complex at Labour Colony and a couple of other projects in PPP mode, the CPI, CPI (M) and the TDP moved an amendment to the resolution proposed by Congress floor leader K. Rajasekhar, which supported the issuing of notification by the commissioner.
But the Congress members had a narrow escape when their resolution won by 26 votes to 24. As against the full strength of opposition members, only fewer members of the Congress were present in the hall when the amendment was taken up for voting.
CPI(M) floor leader Ch. Babu Rao and CPI floor leader P. Gowtham Reddy criticised the officials for calling for expression of interest without discussing the issue in the general body. Mr. Reddy remarked the officials were dealing with public property in the city like their `jagirs', and disposing of each one as they wished.
Mr. Rao wondered what right the VMC had on Swaraj Maidan, which belonged to the irrigation department, for which the commissioner had called for a proposal to construct a compound wall. Similarly, while a resolution of the general body favouring construction of a stadium on the Labour Colony land was still pending, the commissioner had called for proposals to develop a multiplex complex there.
Defending the notification, Mr. Rajasekhar said the commissioner had issued it in accordance with G.O.Ms.No.160 of the State Government, which provided scope for development of vacant lands in all urban local bodies. But any proposal finalised by the commissioner would have to be cleared by the general body, he assured.
On another issue, many corporators expressed concern over refusal of the authorities to change the ownership title of some houses, which was creating problems in getting benefits like drinking water connection and individual sanitary latrines. To this, additional commissioner G. Neelakantham assured them he would bring the issue to the notice of commissioner on his return from Hyderabad.