Staff Reporter

Officials draw flak for taking the line that they are awaiting Government order in this regard

Time period for 122 works lapsesAgreements are yet to be signed in respect of 269 worksJaju makes it clear that price escalation benefit will be applicable for future contracts only

HYDERABAD: The contractors' logjam created a furore in the weekly meeting of the Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad's Standing Committee on Wednesday with Mayor T. Krishna Reddy and other members threatening to boycott further meetings if the issue was not resolved forthwith.

Mr. Reddy, who is also the chairman of the committee, and other members such as Rami Reddy and S. Prabhakar wanted to know the action taken against recalcitrant contractors who have not taken up any work despite the corporation's deadline ending last week itself.

Chief Engineer Dhan Singh and other officials' explanation that they were waiting for the Government to come out with an order to tackle the rise in prices of cement and other commodities did not cut much ice with members.

"We have been hearing the same excuse for the last few weeks. How is that only MCH works got stalled while other departments are managing to keep their works going? We can't wait for a policy decision from the Government eternally. We are answerable to the public," observed the Mayor.

Fact file

Of the 790 works, mostly road repairs estimated to cost about Rs. 35.47 crores, agreements were signed with contractors for 522 works of which time period for 122 works got lapsed. Still, there were 269 works for which agreements were yet to be signed, as per the figures made available to the committee.

Members also wanted to know why contractors refusing to take up works be blacklisted and their agreements cancelled. After nearly an hour of wrangling, they walked out seeking the MCH Commissioner's intervention.

Commissioner Sanjay Jaju rushed to the meeting hall and held discussions with Mr. Krishna Reddy and others in bid to resolve the issue. Mr. Jaju is already on record stating that rates cannot be re-negotiated with contractors wherever agreements are signed for works.

He has made it clear that any new GO issued on giving some price escalation benefit to contractors would be applicable for fresh agreements/contracts only. He promised to hold another meeting with the contractors on Thursday to reach an amicable solution.

The Commissioner compromise formula accepted by committee members included signing fresh agreements where contracts were yet to be awarded and `request' contractors with signed agreements to expedite works or face blacklisting for any future works.