Heed to contractors’ demands

That a whooping amount of Rs. 750 crore due to be released to the contractors for the last so many years by the Government for the developmental works executed by them should continue to remain unpaid  does not augur well . Releasing of funds on time commensurate with the completion of works in stages is the basic template of tendering and contractual basis works process. Not passing the bills for payment for months and years together result not only in getting the much needed development works delayed but the quality of the work is apprehended to be not of desired standard levels.
Contractors have now been driven to take to streets and agitate. The Jammu and Kashmir Central Contractors Coordination Committee (J&KCCCC) has given an indefinite call to boycott all developmental works and tendering process. They held a protest demonstration at Lal Chowk Srinagar on last Sunday highlighting their demands which mainly were regarding their payment bills for months in cluster remaining unpaid in various departments. While this speaks of faulty planning and improper management of the clearance of bills for payments by the concerned department heads, it also reveals about the situation as on date shrouded in ambiguity in that none from the Government official has come out with a resolution of the problem and assuage the feelings of the contractors.
As many as 70000 Valley contractors alone have been left in the lurch while the contractors claim having spent funds from their own sources on maintenance and up gradation of developmental works. The agitating contractors complain having raised loans from various financial institutions and even private persons and their repayment schedule has been disturbed resulting in their credibility getting damaged since they had not been able to repay while their bills continued to be unpaid.
The contractors, in their own right, complain of being compelled to pay hefty interest amount on loans raised by them and questioned as to why should they suffer due to the “negligence of the politicians and engineers” who “force” them to complete the developmental works without arranging the funds in advance? The indefinite “strike” by these contractors would have a telling effect on the pace and the extent of various works under execution and only hearing something straight by them from the horse’s mouth would resolve the problem. The Government must, therefore, act to redeem the situation.