Kashmir electrical contractors boycott PDD dev works over pending liabilities

Kashmir Valley Electrical Contractors (KVEC) association today said that it has decided to boycott all the developmental works of Power Development Department (PDD) due to the department’s failure to clear their pending liabilities.

The Association has conveyed to PDD in writing that besides boycotting all the developmental works, they will also not participate in upcoming projects unless their pending liabilities are paid.

The contractors said that they have been associated with a number of departmental and centrally funded projects over the past few years but have not been paid despite finishing all the works on time. While talking to Greater Kashmir, Bashir Ahmed Mir, Chairman of the association said that all the contractors had borrowed money from the bank hoping to pay it back once work is done. He said that departments’ failure to pay them has put them in a lurch.

“We have to pay huge interest and we are becoming bank defaulters. In March 2019 we finished most of the projects including the main PDD projects of Saubhagya, PMDP, DDGUY, but liabilities worth Rs 92 Cr rupees under Saubhagya alone are still pending. We have also done other maintenance work including snow damage repairing work in 2017 and 2018 which is also pending,” Mir said.

The contractors said that their families are suffering and so are the workers who worked under them as they are unable to pay anyone.

They said that “some of the contractors are suffering from diseases like cancer and other ailments. How are they supposed to pay for their treatment?”

A senior official from the Power department said that some of the work done by the contractors is being examined by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). He said that the higher ups in the department had raised some queries about the work which is to be checked and once these formalities are done, all the liabilities will be cleared.

“After completion of investigation in one of the districts, ACB in a recent communication to the department has said that there is loss to the state exchequer to a great extent. The investigation in the works done in other districts is also underway,” the official said.

The contractors association however said that earlier inspections were carried by third parties and by teams from the center. They said if the department still wants to carry out more inspections they welcome it but all should be done as soon as possible so that they don’t have to suffer.

“There are around 20 PDD divisions in Kashmir where we have worked. So far the work in only one of the districts has been examined. At such a pace it will take another two years for inspection and what are we supposed to feed our families till then. We welcome all the inspections and will continue to support it, all we want is that the formalities should be finished without any delay so that we don’t have to suffer,” said Bashir Ahmed Mir.

The contractors said that on 23rd October they apprised the Department in writing that they are boycotting the work unless their liabilities are not cleared. They said that if there is no response from the department then they will go on protest from 27th of this month.