Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, March 03:
The inconveniences faced by the people, due to the ongoing Imphal Sewerage Project is likely to be aggravated as there is every likelihood that work on the project may be stalled from March 5 as the contractors concerned have taken strong exception against the failure of the Government to release their pending bills.
What has added to their angst is the seeming lack of any assurance that the same would be released soon.
Speaking to The Sangai Express the exasperated contractors said that though the process of digging up the roads for laying the pipes and constructing the man holes for the sewerage project has inconvenienced the people no end, they are constrained to stop all work as the Government has not taken any steps to release all their pending bills and other related expenses.
Most of the work process has been completed but there is still some way to go to actually finalise the completion of the said project.
A contractor informed The Sangai Express that though the 2007-08 fiscal is to wind up on March 31, the Government still has to pay an outstanding amount of Rs 19 crores by way of bills to the contractors.
Despite the outstanding amount running into Rs 19 crores, the Government has sanctioned only Rs 4 crores to pay the contractors, he maintained and added that the decision of the Government has put not only the contractors but also the Engineers concerned in a tight spot.
On top of this the Government State Budget for the 2008-09 fiscal has reflected only Rs 24 crores for the project despite the proposal to peg the amount at Rs 50 crores, asserted the contractor.
During a meeting convened by the Chief Minister in December last year, the contractors were instructed to finish the work on the project in good time and had even assured that fund for the same will not be a constraint.
If needed fund will be adjusted from the other departments, the Chief Minister had assured, claimed the contractor.
PHED Minister TN Haokip, the Engineers concerned as well as representatives of contractors were present at the meeting.
The Chief Minister had also assured that all the outstanding bills of the contractors would be released by January this year, claimed the contractor further.
However the fact that only Rs 4 crores out of a total of Rs 19 crores outstanding amount as well as reflecting only Rs 24 crores in the Budget for the next fiscal against the proposed Rs 50 crores has exposed the double speak of the Government, he proclaimed.
"What is the point of stressing ourselves to the limit if we are not to be paid our dues," he countered.
Contractors engaged in the Imphal Sewerage Project said that the work is extremely difficult as well as involves a certain element of risk.
Since the work of such a nature is something new to them and following the death of one when the side collapsed, finding labourers for the job has become difficult, they said.
Since the work necessitates round the clock activities, labourers have to work morning and night shift, they informed and added that they have to be paid daily.
This has resulted in the escalation of labour cost.
The contractors also informed that the road has be dug out to the depth of about 20 feet and in the process they have to negotiated water supply pipes and underground telephone cables.
Since all these back breaking jobs have not resulted in any gains, the contractors have decided to suspend work on the project from March 5, they reasoned.