Contractors aghast, Govt assures release of payments soon
KD NEWS SERVICE
SRINAGAR, May 13: The government announcement of funding the languishing projects who had been lingering -on for many years due to fund paucity had brought cheers not only on the faces of the public but also to those contractors whose investments had gone down the drain due to Non -completion of these projects.
But this unprecedented decision also came with its own problems and demerits. Nearly one year has passed -by, the contractors have not received a single penny causing more distress and anxiety among them.
Many contractors who had re-invested on languishing projects have been running pillar to post seeking their pending payments but to no avail. The major chunk of the languishing projects is in the R&B and PHE and I&FC Divisions. RNA has learnt from sources that government has approved 2,504 languishing projects in these three Engineering departments whereas 103 projects have been approved in Health department which include many hospitals, Dispensaries and other health facilities.
In R&B , hundreds of unfinished projects of buildings, bridges and roads were taken up for completion whereas in PHE, many filtration plants, Water supply schemes and reservoirs which had been left incomplete were approved by the high powered committee under languishing scheme . Many contractors however, told RNA that despite the completion of many schemes, there is no release of payments which has put them under stress. They said the more worrying thing is that even officers don’t know when and how the payment would be made.
“We have finished some of the projects many months ago but there is no clue about the payment which has put them under fincancial stress. They only hold review meetings but never tell us when the payments will be made.” a group of contractors told RNA
When RNA attempted to enquire about the delay in payments of the languishing projects, a senior officer in the Finance department in Civil Secretariat said that these projects have very hectic and lengthy procedure which was the main reason behind the delay of payments. He said since the process has been made absolutely error- free and extremely full proof which has forced concerned officers to process the bills with extreme caution.
“See this is not like the normal project. In these projects, the concerned officers need to verify every stage of the work with documental and photographic evidence.
Once they certify it, they submit it to their HODs, (Chief engineers in case of engineering departments), who are also required to counter check and then send it to their respective administrative departments. From administrative departments this will come here in the Finance department and Finance after verifying everything will release a user ID to the respective departments which would make the payments.”
The officer, who is not authorized to speak, told RNA, wishing not to be named. He added that process was at the final stage. Meanwhile Governor’s advisor for PHE, and PWD K.K. Sharma told RNA that the payments for the languishing projects would start this week itself and added that payments would be made for all those projects that have been approved and completed. “We will start releasing the payments of the approved languishing projects that stand completed, by this week.” Advisor told RNA.