AP Assembly adopts planning committee bill by division

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Hyderabad, Nov 14 (UNI) The Andhra Pradesh Assembly tonight adopted the Metropolitan Planning Committee Bill and the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act Amendment Bill, even as major Opposition parties opposed it.

The Bill was adopted by 38 votes for and 29 against with no abstensions in the 294-member House as the determined Opposition pressed for a division.

Even as Municipal Administration Minister K Ranga Rao, piloting the Bill, maintained that the Planning Committee Bill was brought in adhering to the spirit of the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, the Opposition members contended that clause six, empowering the state government to appoint chairperson, vice-chairperson and other non-elected members to the board, was ''unconstitutional''.

Earlier, the House adopted the Andhra Pradesh Horticultural University Bill by voice vote after a procedural wrangle between Agriculture Minister N Raghuveera Reddy, who moved the Bill, and the Opposition benches.

The Opposition members objected to the non-provision of copies of a long list of amendments along with the Bill, even as the Minister maintained that the amendments to the Bill had been tabled in the House.

The Assembly also unanimously adopted four Bills to amend the Value Added Tax Act to levy 12.5 per cent tax on cigarettes and manufactured tobacco products, while continuing unmanufactured tobacco and beedis in the exempted list.

Mesta or Bimili, Pillamodi, Coir and Coir products (excluding rubberised mattresses) and Khandsari Sugar were deleted from the Fourth schedule liable for VAT at the rate of four per cent, Excise Minister K Ramakrishna said, piloting the Bill.

UNI

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