Srinagar, Sept 11: Chief Engineer Jal Shakti Department, Basharat Jeelani, today said that the delay in the payment of Third Party Monitoring Agency (TPIA) since last year will be settled soon and payment will be released.
He said that the payment was delayed due to some contractual issues. “The issue will be settled soon and payment will also be released,” he added.
The Government’s ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission took a hit as the Department of Jal Shakti in Kashmir has been delaying the payment of the TPIA since last year, which is responsible for monitoring and verification of the work done under the project.
According to the officials, some vested interests are impeding the Jal Jeevan Mission’s execution by obstructing the TPIA’s ability to monitor and verify the works being done on the ground using a variety of techniques.
“Some contractors are making unfounded and pointless complaints against TPIA in order to prevent payment of the staff members hired by the TPIA to supervise the work from being done and to push the TPIA to quit. The Jal Shakti Department has not paid anything to the agency for the last 12 months,” an official said.
He further said that the rapid progress being made at the JJM has alarmed some of the people who have used these strategies to sabotage the project’s overall goal of providing functional tap connections to all rural homes across the nation.
“The works under the JJM Kashmir have picked up at a very good pace after Jan/Feb 2022, with maximum contract allotments/awards and execution on the ground occurring after March 2022, which was lagging before Feb 2022,” he said, adding that these adversarial forces attacked the TPIA because they believed it was the only way to halt the execution of this mission.
The officials are concerned that further delays in fund disbursement could put a stop to the JJM in the Valley because every project carried out as part of the mission requires agency verification. “If the TPIA is forced to leave in some way, there would not be a TPIA verification report of the work performed by contractors under the JJM, which would ultimately prevent the release of contractor bills, forcing the contractors to stop working, and causing the JJM to fall behind schedule. This is because, in accordance with JJM/Govt of India regulations, contractor bills can only be released following the receipt of a TPIA verification report,” an official said.
The delay in payment is also affecting the employees who were roped in by the agency for monitoring the JJM works. “Our salaries have been overdue for the past 12 months, and we have used up all of our savings. We are having trouble supporting our family. It is depressing to observe that the TPIA Kashmir and PHE Kashmir are the targets of phony and anonymous complaints. We continue to put in sincere efforts in support of the JJM in Kashmir,” an employee working for the agency said, adding that they would stop working if the company fails to pay their salaries.