Srinagar, Aug 25: The non-clearance of pending contractor bills by the government since the last three to four years has left people associated with the profession on the verge of starvation.
President Hot Mix Plant Owners Association Kashmir (HMPOA) Bashir Ahmad Khan said that claims of the Governor administration that payment will be done on time is proving hoax on ground due to which contractors and thousands of laborers associated with them are suffering.
“The government owes us around Rs 150 crore of the work done since 2018-20. This year the allocated work was of Rs 200 crore. However, only Rs 100 crore has been released so far,” Khan said.
“At present the government owes us more than Rs 250 crore and whenever we meet higher ups in this regard, they seem to be helpless,” he said, adding that if the construction and development works are slow, it is only because of non- payment of contractors dues.
Khan said as per general financial rule, authorities have to keep the payment available at the time of tendering but the rules are being violated.
“We meet executive engineers, chief engineers and higher ups but they also fail to help us due to which thousands of families are on the verge of starvation,” he said .
“We have worked under NABARD, CRF and languishing projects and completed them before the deadline but still payment is due, ” he said, adding that at every hot mix plant at least 50 persons are working and there are around 100 hot mix plants in the valley.
“We have taken loans to complete work on time but now we have to pay interest as well but authorities are hardly bothered about our situation,” Khan said.
An official said that due to the liability, a major chunk of funds released goes to clear the debt and little amount remains for new developmental works.
He admitted that due to liability, projects aren’t being completed on time.
Meanwhile, Showkat Jeelani Pandit Chief Engineer R&B said that last year a part liability was cleared.
“This year some part of the amount will be released while next year the rest of liabilities will be cleared,” he said.