SRINAGAR: BJP-PDP government’s blockade of macadam material and issuance of projects beyond the allocated budget are responsible for suspension of all state government funded road works for the past two months in the state.
Ghulam Jeelani Purza, chairman of JK Contractors Coordination Committee, a conglomerate body of 25,000 contractors, told Kashmir Reader that macdamisation work of 13,000 km in the Valley and 8,000 km in Jammu had been suspended because the state government owes Rs 400 crore which is due since 2015. This, he said, was because the state allocated work beyond the designated budget.
He also said that the government had stopped providing Bitumen, a hydrocarbon product that is vital for laying of roads, to contractors.
“Now contractors have to procure bitumen, which increases the cost of the projects. In the previous regimes it was provided by the government itself. This move has increased the bills which the state is not in a capacity to pay,” Purza added.
Commissioner Secretary, Public Works, Khurshid Ahmad Shah told Kashmir Reader that it was true that the government allotted work beyond the budget, but now, he said, the matter has been taken up with the planning department and soon funds will be released.
According to Purza, the contractors have done 2,200 km of state-funded road work in 2017 but have not been paid for it. He said the government released money to the tune of Rs 100 crore a few days ago, but still it owes Rs 400 crore.
“The state has to maintain nearly 22,000 km of road every year. The tenders issued were to do surface correction, and work on stretches and patches,” said Purza. “But when the government did not pay, we stopped work. We neither participate in any new work nor in the previously given work. Among the latter is work on the Khayam-Khanyar-Pandach, Lashjan- Bund road, etc.”
Purza said contractors continue to work for Government of India funded projects because they release funds on time.
“The PDP-BJP government only issued tenders at a faster pace than any previous government. It was a good move, but they failed to give us the money for the work we did,” Purza added.