Contractors’ boycott halts Durbar beautification works

Contractors’ boycott halts Durbar beautification works

SRINAGAR: This year, the return of Darbar to Srinagar might not be welcomed by dusted roads, painted footpaths and clean drains because all civil contractors have boycotted government works in protest against delay in payment of pending bills.

Ghulam Jeelani Burza, chairman of JK Contractors Coordination Committee, told Kashmir Reader that they have boycotted the work of beautification of the valley till the government “releases our pending dues”.

“Government owes us Rs 265 crore for works we did in the past. It also owes us Rs 50 crore for the work we did post 2014 floods. Now against the government’s apathy we have decided not to work till the money is released,” Burza said.

He added they have communicated same to the R&B chief engineer who has told him that chief minister has assured that money will be released by April 6.

“But we did not relent. We will wait and if the money is not released we will boycott other big projects. We have already asked other contractors to extend their support to us. Post elections, if the government continues to be unresponsive, all contractors will march towards CM’s house in protest,” Burza said.

Ahead of the Darbar move, the government ritually beautifies roads in the valley, a practice in vogue since the time of Dogra monarchy.

The practice has been seen as a burden on the state exchequer as crores of rupees are spent on transportation of volumes of official records and employees between the twin capital cities twice every year.

The administrative aspect of governance also suffers for almost two months every year as the employees get nearly three weeks of extra holidays for travelling from one capital city to another.

Asked when the work for beautification was supposed to start, Burza said, the tendering process has been completed and the work to start in the first week of April.

The decision for the release of the payment, Burza said, lies with the planning department which has not been releasing the money for many years.