The construction sector in the State is staring at a numbing financial setback this fiscal due to the severe shortage of raw material, exorbitant prices, dominance by sand and gravel mafia and obstacles posed by police and Revenue officials, the Kerala Government Contractors’ Association has said.

Addressing a press conference here on Monday, KGCA State president Varghese Kannampally said the severity of the situation was evident in the fate of the 116 packages worth Rs.200 crore for road development under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY). Though tenders were issued for all 116 packages, 90 of them were still awaiting takers and those who had called for the other 26 packages too were likely to withdraw if the Government did not adjust the tariffs as per market rates.

With a little over than two months left for the end of the fiscal, at least 40 per cent of the funds of the three-tier panchayats system were set to lapse. Not even 30 per cent of works under the Public Works department and the Water Resources department were likely to be completed before March 31, Mr. Kannampally said, alleging that delay in passing bills and shortage of staff to monitor works and passing the bills was a major reason behind the funds lapsing.

A seminar of the KGCA held here recently has demanded that the Government pass orders directing that a file approved by one official should next be examined only by a higher official, so that the time lost when it again went through the hands of lower division clerks in each section could be saved, he said, adding that the seminar had stressed on justified rates to be ensured if quality assurance regulations were to be adhered to.