'Govt has no funds to pay Rs 1000 cr it owes to contractors'

The state government has no funds to pay more than Rs 1000 crore it owes to thousands contractors for development works they did in the past five years.

Unless the pending bills are cleared, the contractors have said, they wouldn’t take up new works. This has brought development works to a grinding halt in Kashmir.

“The government is finding it difficult to raise funds to clear such a huge debt.

This liability has been accumulated from 2014. So there is provision in the budget 2019-2020 approved by State Administrative Council. Governor administration is now working on clearing a part of the liability in order to persuade contractors to resume work as their boycott has caused an embarrassment for the administration,” he said.

The official said that even the payments for repair of roads carried out in 2014 are pending.

More than 30,000 contractors decided in March to boycott works till they are paid their bills. Co-chairman of Joint Contractors Coordination Committee Farooq Ahmad Dar said the government was “doing nothing but buying time”.

“They are not sincere to resolve this issue,” he said while admitting Kashmir is therefore losing peak construction season to the stalemate.

Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings department Kashmir Sami Arif said that they have taken up the issue of pending liabilities with the administrative department.

“We have started repair of roads and in coming days we are hopeful that other construction works under R&B will be expedited,” he said.