JAMMU, Jan 19: J&K Contractors Co-ordination Committee has urged the authorities in J&K UT to release the long pending bills of the contractors against the projects completed.
Addressing a press conference here today Balvinder Singh- general secretary of Coordination Committee flayed the Government and Finance Department in particular for a huge delay of about six months in clearing the bills for the works already completed under Languishing Projects Scheme.
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Singh said several developmental works have been taken up under this project out of which so many works completed so far by the contractors and the bills have been passed by the PWD offices and sent to Finance Department for payment after completing all requisite formalities such as Technical Sanction and Administrative Approval but for the last six months, the Finance Department could not arrange funds for projects. Whosoever when contacted, the Finance Department makes one or the other excuse but no clear commitment is made.
“It is very strange and surprising that the Finance Department itself issued circular with reference to Government Order OM No. F.1/1/2021 Dated 29-10-2021 on expenditure procurement policy categorically states in item No. 12 Para 12.1 reads- “aligning the interest of stakeholders” delay in eligible payment to contractors lead to delay in execution of projects and disputes. Hence, ad hoc payments of not less than 75% of eligible running bills due stage/payment shall be made within 10 days of the submission of the bill by the contractor, the remaining payment is also to be made after final checking of the bills within 28 days. In case due payment has not been released within 10 working days as per prescribed above, it shall be made as soon as possible. After payment a written explanation for the delay shall be submitted to next higher authority within three months.
Para 12.2 reads as public authorities may put in place a provision for payment of interest in case of delayed payment of more than 30 working days, after the submission of bill by the contractor, the rate of interest should be the rate of interest on GPF. Notwithstanding the above circular the Finance Department is sitting over the issue of payments to the hapless contractors who have been suffering for last 06 months, bills amounting to approx Rs 250 crores are already lying with the Finance Department and several bills are in pipeline, it is also noticed that some bills are being sent back to PWD (R&B) Department with some unwanted queries to suppress the load of bills on Finance Department.
Singh criticized the one sided approach of the authorities to warn to black list those contractors who fail to complete the work within the prescribed time but themselves failed to arrange funds for release of payments to the contractors as per the instruction in the circular.