For alleged refusal to pay up

All ongoing development works being implemented through the contractors within the Corporation limits are about to come to a grinding halt as one of the leading contractors here was thrashed by a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam councillor and his friend on the premises of Palayamkottai Zonal office on Thursday.

S. Edison (38) of Perumalpuram, in a complaint to Palayamkottai police, said he, after bagging a contract worth Rs. 25 lakh, was constructing a drainage channel at Kakkan Nagar falling under ward 12 of Tirunelveli Corporation.

Money sought

“Even as the construction was going on, ward 12 Councillor A. Durai demanded Rs. 75,000 and I paid it. When he pestered me to pay another Rs. 50,000, I refused as the construction materials' cost had escalated phenomenally. As the problem continued I stopped the work,” Mr. Edison said.

When Mr. Edison resumed the work after Corporation Commissioner N. Subbaiyan recently inspected the construction, the councillorthreatened him that he, a Dalit, would file a case against the former under Protection of Civil Rights Act if his demand was not met.

“When I was about to leave the Palayamkottai Zone premises around 11.30 a.m. on Thursday, I was asked by Junior Engineer Thirugnanasekar to meet Mr. Durai who was standing at a distance. As I refused to give the money again, I was thrashed by Mr. Durai and his associate and former councillor Paappu Kumar slapped me with footwear,” alleged Mr. Edison, who filed a police complaint around 3 p.m.

Contractors on warpath

Meanwhile, corporation contractors have decided to stop all ongoing works if attacks against them continued.

“Even as the contractors are facing a lot of problems from some people here, they are being threatened and attacked. If this situation continues, we'll be forced to stop all works,” said Jebarajan, another leading contractor, who was recently threatened by the anti-socials when he went to the corporation administrative office to file the tenders for Rs. 25 crore-worth road laying projects.

Corporation offers protection

Admitting that he came to know about the incident, Dr. Subbaiyan told ‘The Hindu' that the corporation administration was prepared to extend cooperation to any contractor, who could ensure highest quality in their work. “I inspected the drainage channel work at Kakkan Nagar recently… If they (contractors) can ensure better quality, they need not give money to anybody. We'll even protect them,” assured Dr. Subbaiyan.

Mayor A.L. Subramanian also noted that he would strive to sort out the problem amicably.

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