Strike will continue till all our dues are cleared, they say

The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation efforts to resolve the demand of the contractors to clear their pending dues went in vain on Tuesday with the agitating contractors sticking to their guns.

Chief Engineer Kondal Rao has assured the contractors of passing orders for the pending bills. He also said that bills would also be prepared as per the recording of the works in M book-measurement book.

The contractors, however, told him that they would continue their strike until the Corporation cleared all the dues.

Vijayawada Municipal Corporation Contractors Association vice president A. Ankeswara Rao said that Municipal Commissioner Md. Abdul Azeem, in their earlier meeting, had promised to clear Rs.4 crore every month.

The VMC, however, failed to keep its promise forcing the contractors to launch the strike, he said.

“Now that the Corporation has breached its promise, the association is demanding that the VMC clear at least Rs.20 crore of dues, immediately,” he said, adding, the VMC was yet to prepare bills for some more works.

Mr. Ankeswara Rao said that the bills to the tune of Rs.130 crore were pending with the civic body. The contractors executed various works, including those taken up under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) programme.

It may be recalled that a contractor, Kuncham Chinna Muttaiah, died recently and his family members alleged that the he ran out of finances after he carried out the VMC works. The VMC had not cleared bills to the tune of Rs. 10 lakh to him for more than a year.

Family members of Muttaiah stated that he had no money to get treatment for brain tumour from which he had been suffering. The deceased was unable to repay the debts borrowed for the works and also did not have money to undergo treatment, the family members alleged.

Subsequently, the contractors staged a protest in front of Commissioner’s chamber asking the VMC to clear all dues to the contractors.

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