The city unit of the CPI(M) has alleged that there is a “huge iron curtain” between the people and the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) under the current special officer regime. There is no transparency in the administration and “undemocratic practices” are being followed in the conduct of general body and standing committee meetings, it alleged.
Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, CPI(M) state committee member Ch. Babu Rao said that the Corporation officials were reluctant to provide details of the proceedings of the general body and the standing committee, the powers of which were now vested with the district collector acting as special officer. The officials were unwilling to provide the details even under the Right to Information Act. The officials were demanding Rs. 8,550 for furnishing a copy of the resolutions, which was against the fee prescribed under the RTI Act. The officials, probably, feared that they would have to face the wrath of the people for their “autocratic and unfair” decisions if the details came out, he said.
‘Slow pace of work'
Mr. Babu Rao alleged that developmental works took a beating, and the VMC was in shambles with paucity of funds. The Corporation could spend hardly Rs.208.65 crore as against the budget estimate of Rs. 1,211.76 crore during the last nine months. The expenditure would not cross Rs.278 crore by the end of the current financial year, if the pace of works in the last nine months was any indication. It was much less than last year's Rs.356 crore. What was even more pathetic was that the Corporation could spend only Rs.1.15 crore from January 3 to 9, indicating that it would not be able to spend more than Rs.15 crore by the year-end and would fall short of the target.
He said that the Corporation was unable to pay salaries to the employees, while bills to the tune of Rs. 89 crore were pending. The amount was inclusive of ‘C' bills relating to maintenance and electricity for Rs. 6 crore. The contractors have already conveyed to the VMC that they would not execute the works unless the pending bills of Rs. 71 crore were cleared.
The VMC hardly received Rs. 2.59 crore under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) programme contrary to its claim that the city would be showered with Rs. 946 .33 crore. These facts were a clear indication of the VMC marching backwards under the special officer rule, Mr. Babu Rao said. Former corporator D. Kasinath was also present.