EARLY TIMES REPORT
JAMMU, Feb 17: The process of releasing payment in favor of contractors engaged in civil works for Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) has been stalled, as the government has abolished its Engineering Wing and future civil works of civic bodies will be done through respective Divisions/ Sub-Divisions of the Public Works (R&B) Department.
Now, the remaining payments of contractors will be released after March 15, 2020. “We fear that the Public Works Department, which has been entitled to look after the engineering of the department, may further linger on the process of releasing our dues. Already understaffed, PWD, certainly cross-check all the works and the bill made by engineering wing of ULBs”, said a contractor, adding that government can shift responsibility from one department to another, but not at the cost of our suffering.
“At least payment for completed works should not be stalled, blockage of payment for months without any reason disrupt our other ongoing works. We have to meet the material, labor and other expenses of ongoing works”, the contractor said. It is pertinent to mention here that the J&K Administrative Council on January 29, 2020 had accorded sanction for the abolition of Engineering wings of Directorate of Urban Local Bodies, Jammu and Directorate of Urban Local Bodies, Kashmir and transfer its manpower to the Jammu Municipal Corporation and Srinagar Municipal Corporation respectively.
“Bills for three works I had completed months ago were pending for payment on the part of concerned Executive Engineer, now it will further take at least two more months”, said a contractor, adding that government should empower the director ULB Jammu to release the payment for Bill had been submitted prior to government’s order to avoid any kind of harassment of contractors for the same works.
“Process for hand over and take over records regarding works started/completed by the ULB has taken up with Public Works (R&B) Department, as per government’s instruction will complete by 25th February”, sources in the department said, adding that the government has also granted permission for advanced drawl for payments for contractors.
Director Urban Local Bodies, Jammu Veer Ji Hangloo when contacted there is nothing to worry about. “Entire record is being handed over to the PWD department, and soon after completion of the process the payment will be released”, he added.