Penalize defaulting contractors

To stem the rot of causing delays and missing deadlines, in a case concerning construction of the flyover at Jahangir Chowk, Jammu and Kashmir Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) has imposed a penalty of Rs. 2 crore on M/s Simplex Infrastructure Limited (SIL) , the contractors of the project for missing the deadline mutually agreed upon. The flyover is required urgently to address the traffic problems and congestion at the Jehangir Chowk- Aalucha Bagh road.
The deadline was in respect of the work of phase 2 of the flyover project which expired on December 31, last year and was now slated to be completed by the end of February this year. Sub- optimal man power, machinery and the material employed by the contractor has reportedly caused the delay which already is not the first in this project. It is nice that strict monitoring of the progress of the work was being done and the delay not taken in the stride for which the contractor is now supposed to pay the penalty right through the nose. It is noteworthy that the contractor has been penalised last year too in October to the tune of Rs.1.25 crore for not meeting the deadline. Since the State Government has to provide some of its personnel to the contractors which involves cost, any delays in completion of work would and must attract the penalty clauses under the agreement of construction. Such a culture needed to be made universal in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and not confined to a solitary case or two as it is the culture in respect of almost all projects to miss deadlines repeatedly involving unaffordable cost overruns.