Staff Reporter

Sequel to debate on move to hike property tax

  • 62 issues discussed during day-long debate
  • Independents allege that their voice is not being heard

    VIJAYAWADA: An argument between independent corporators and Mayor Tadi Sankuntala and a walkout by the CPI (M) and the Telugu Desam Party corporators stalled the proceedings of the general body meeting of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) for more than an hour on Wednesday.

    The day-long meeting discussed 62 issues of the 81-point agenda and forwarded many questions for official remarks. Ch. Babu Rao of the CPI (M) pointed out that there was no response from officials on issues sent for their remarks in the last eight months. Ms. Sakuntala asked additional commissioner M. Neelakantham to provide information to the floor leaders of all political parties within 10 days.

    Raising objections over the ruling, independent corporators Abdul Khader and M. Appaji said they were neither getting any information from the officials nor participating in the floor leaders' meeting. They picked an argument with the Mayor over the rights of corporators, who were elected independently. Ms. Sakuntala clarified that corporators could elect their floor leader only if their strength was five or more in the general body.

    Sishtla Ramalinga Murthy of the Congress said floor leaders did not have any statutory powers and it was an arrangement for simplifying administration. Not satisfied with the replies, the independent corporators continued their argument with the Mayor. Ms. Sakuntala pacified them by assuring them that she would convene a meeting with independent corporators.

    Corporators of the CPI(M) and the TDP staged a walkout following a debate over the Government's proposal to increase property tax in municipalities and corporations. The general body refused to pass a resolution seeking the withdrawal of the proposal, as there was no official communication over it. Mr. Babu Rao, who tabled the proposal, staged a walkout. The CPI (M) and the TDP corporators too followed him.

    Two proposals

    The Mayor put two proposals for voting - cancellation of the Expression of Interest (EOI) inviting tenders by the VMC to monitor supply of non-revenue water and unaccounted water and seeking withdrawal of a decision made by the State Government to install domestic water meters in urban areas. A majority of the corporators, however, voted against the proposals.

    In a debate over the issue of notification released by the officials over the EOI, Samanthapudi Narasaraju of the Congress found fault with the officials for violating a resolution passed by the general body opposing the installation of domestic water meters.

    Earlier in the day, Ms. Sakuntala urged news photographers and cameramen of television channels to allow the general body meeting to continue. She felt that coverage of wordy duels was encouraging the corporators to prolong their arguments, as they felt that they would get more coverage in the media.