SRINAGAR: Scores of government contractors protesting to press for release of their outstanding bills worth Rs 300 crore were arrested by Police here on Saturday.
Under the banner of J&K Central Contractors Coordination Committee (JKCCCC), contractors led by its general secretary, Farooq Ahmad Dar, gathered here at the Press Enclave and were shouting anti-government slogans and demanding release of the pending dues, which according to them have accumulated to more than Rs 300 crore.
Contractors alleged that government is totally ‘insensitive’ towards them and is unnecessarily delaying their due payments.
However, when the protesting contractors tried to move out of the press enclave towards the city centre, Police came into actions and bundled the leaders of the protest including Dar in police vehicles and took them to Police Station, Kothi Bagh, where later they were released.
Earlier, Dar flayed the authorities for withholding the amount of Rs 300 crore. He said that official apathy has not only worsened the contractors’ condition but led to halt of many development works owing to the paucity of funds in the treasuries here.
Dar said that treasuries in Kashmir have been running dry from last 15 days. He alleged that the money withhold is being used for the election purposes while as the contractors have been left to run from pillar to post.
“Bills of hundreds of contractors working with different departments have not been cleared. The money is being drained out for the elections process,” Dar alleged adding that bills worth Rs 300 are pending with the government.
Dar accused Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather for creating a financial crunch “just to keep financial commission of India in good humor.” “If our bills are not cleared at the earliest, all the developmental projects will come to a halt,” Dar cautioned.
He added despite completion of works certificate allotted to the contractors by the departments including Finance, Planning and Works in time, hundreds of bills are still pending clearance. Dar threatened that contractors would strike work if the outstanding bills are not cleared soon.