As govt fails to clear bills of contractors, traders feel the heat on Eid eve

As govt fails to clear bills of contractors, traders feel the heat on Eid eve
SRINAGAR:  Restricted flow of money to contractors and its fall out on trade activity in summer capital city has marred the business on Eid eve with traders saying that they were facing “worst ever crunch” on this festive occasion.
President Kashmir Traders and Manufactures Federation (KTMF) Mohammad Yaseen Khan told Kashmir Reader that the market has witnessed a slump of Rs 800 crore this year “due to government’s non-release of the money”.
“For me as a businessman, this is the worst ever Eid I have witnessed in the last forty years. There is no market movement this year. Traders have been waiting for customers all this year,” Khan said.
“On an average, the total turnover of business during a week before Eid used to be around Rs 1000 crore. This year it was not even Rs 200 crore,” he added
Yaseen said people have not been turning up to garment shops or crockery shops in huge numbers and were only buying eatables.
In the past, the city roads, from TRC to Hari Singh High Street, used to be choked because of heavy rush of Eid shoppers, but the scene, as witnessed by Kashmir Reader,  was quite different this year. It was like a normal day.
Yaseen said the reason behind the slump was no circulation of money into the market, as government has not paid bills worth crores of rupees to contractors and many government employees have not been paid their salaries.
“It is either contractors’ money or employees that largely flow in the market. The market was down because no money was released to contractors and large chunk of employees were without salary,” he added.
The street vendors who sell ready-made garments are also experiencing minimum sales.
Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Contractors Coordination Committee Ghulam Jeelani Burza said the government has not paid bills worth Rs 550 in the past many months.
“Government owes us Rs 440 crore to us for the work we did in repairing of roads and drains during the time of former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The bills of about Rs 200 crore works done after the September floods are yet to be paid. We have already apprised the finance minister about during our meeting with him, but nothing has been done till now,” Burza said.
Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu told Kashmir Reader that his ministry has okayed all the pending bills of contractors.
Asked where was a there bottleneck, he said, “The issue may be with the concerned departments.”