Staff Reporter

VMC Commissioner authorised to open escrow account in SBI

Opening of escrow account proposed CPI(M) protests against metering domestic water connectionsMayor sore over Commissioner's leave

VIJAYAWADA: The general body of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation on Saturday approved taking of Rs.6.25-crore loan from the State Government under AP Urban Reforms and Municipal Services Project (APURMSP) funded by the World Bank.

The general body also authorised the Commissioner to open an escrow account in the Gandhinagar branch of the State Bank of India for depositing the project fund. Barring the CPI(M), and to some extent the TDP, all other parties endorsed the proposal as well as the reform plan submitted to the AP Urban Finance & Infrastructure Development Corporation (APUFIDC) for accessing the loan.

Opposing the `conditions' specified under the project, CPI (M) floor leader Ch. Babu Rao proposed an amendment to the original resolution.

The amendment called for taking steps to get funds under APURMSP without any conditions, particularly those relating to metering of all domestic water connections, recovery of total cost of sanitation and water supply, implementation of public-private partnership in various departments and so on.

With only eight votes polling in its favour, the amendment was defeated. All the CPI (M) members walked out of the meeting hall raising slogans of `shame, shame'.

TDP floor leader Y. Ramana Rao demanded that his party's amendment for deleting the condition relating to metering of water connections be recorded in the proceedings.

Defending the resolution for taking the loan, senior Congress corporator S. Narasa Raju and Congress floor leader K. Rajasekhar accused the CPI (M) of creating a negative impression in the minds of people about it.

Reform action plan

Mr. Narasa Raju disagreed with Mr. Babu Rao's contention that the reform action plan contained `dangerous' conditions. He maintained that it only indicated certain reforms that were necessary and included just an indicator of the future revenue targets.

Mr. Babu Rao maintained that cost recovery of sanitation and water supply would surely mean burdening people. There were instances of the corporation accessing loans from public sector banks for a rate of interest that was lower than what was being charged by the World Bank.

Prior to the meeting, Mr. Gowtham Reddy raised the issue of Commissioner Natarajan Gulzar going on leave without informing the Mayor.

Mayor Tadi Sakuntala regretted that she had to learn about the Commissioner's leave and the entrusting of additional responsibility to Urban Development Authority vice-chairman V. Durga Das through newspapers.