The execution work of the access road, the 1550-meters road tunnel of Sawalakot hydroelectric project in Ramban district has been stalled since April 1 after the Jammu Kashmir State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC) failed to clear the bills of the contractors since 2019.
According to contractors, the JKSPDC has failed to clear the bills of the contractor company Hindustan Construction Company (HCC) and its sub contractor companies engaged for the access road tunnel works of the proposed 1856 MW Sawalakote power project.
Earlier, sub contractors suspended the work on the project and remained on strike over a similar issue.
Later, on the intervention and assurance given by the management of JKSPDC that more than Rs 20 crore pending bills would be cleared till 31 March, the strike was called off.
Bhardin, a sub contractor working on the project, told Greater Kashmir that the JKSPDC management had failed to clear the pending bills of the contractors and the subcontractors.
He said that no option was left with them except to stop work on the project works and access road tunnel.
JKSPDC’s slow pace of work has led to delay in the project, causing concerns among the locals and unemployed youth.
The construction work on the Sawalakot Hydro Power Project Road Tunnel in Tangar Ramban has also come to a standstill due to non-payment of bills to sub-contractors and labourers since long.
The access road work of the project was inaugurated 19 years ago by the then chief minister Farooq Abdullah in the year 2002 but due to repeated delays in payment of funds by the concerned department, the construction work on the project has once again come to a standstill.
The construction work of this road tunnel has been stopped several times during the last five years due to non-payment of dues to the workers and contractors of the HCC.
Source said that the work was being delayed due to a tussle between the company management and the contractors and the workers.
Local have expressed concern over the closure of construction work and demanded that the administration and the government pay attention to the matter.
A sub-contractor working in the project told Greater Kashmir the company owed about Rs 15 crore in bills to the contractor and sub-contractors.
He said that the contractors did not have any money left to refuel the vehicles and pay the bank installments and that after enduring a lot of hardships they were forced to stop work.
The contractor said that the company did not pay the arrears to the contractors due to non-receipt of funds for the ongoing construction work from JKSPDC.