Dues mount for GHMC; contractors in agitation mode


Over 50 contractors stage demonstration at the GHMC head office

The GHMC’s hand-to-mouth existence has hit its contractors badly and made them make rounds of the head office and branch offices, seeking payment of their pending bills.

Bills for various works have been pending for almost three months, which is a long time, considering that they will have to pay the financiers and labour, they say.

Over 50 contractors staged a brief demonstration at the GHMC head office on Friday, under the banner of ‘Contractors’ Association of GHMC’, and served an ultimatum on the corporation for payment of dues by January 5. In the event of failure to pay, they threatened to stall works and go on hunger strike.

Earlier, they met Additional Commissioner (Finance) D. Jayaraj Kennedy and Chief Engineer (Housing) K. Suresh Kumar, and gave them representation about the issue.

Speaking to The Hindu, president of the association A. Damodar Reddy said payment of close to ₹650 crore was pending for various works, including maintenance and projects.

Bills amounting to ₹150 crore were not settled even for regular maintenance works, which had been audited and approved, he said.

Besides, close to ₹100 crore bills were due for works related to periodic preventive road maintenance, for which funds should be released by the State government through the special purpose vehicle — Hyderabad Road Development Corporation (HRDCL).

Construction of double bedroom houses is one more project that has hit the roadblock, owing to mounting dues of ₹350 crore. For this project too, funds are due from the state government, to be released through Telangana State Housing Corporation.

For special projects such as road-widening, junction improvement, and nala widening works, ₹50 crore more is pending.

“We submitted bills almost three months ago, but not received payment till now. Even now, the officials are non-committal in their replies, saying they will pay when they receive funds. Meanwhile, we are facing problems from financiers, who are threatening us with confiscation of machines and vehicles,” said general secretary of the association R.Hanuman Sagar.

GHMC officials admitted that bills had been pending for over two months, owing to paucity of funds, and would be cleared in due course.

“Salaries assume priority in payments, and settlement of bills comes next. We have no funds as of now, as we have been busy in election during the past two months, and could not focus on tax collection. The situation is improving gradually, after we have begun property tax billing now,” said a senior official.

The GHMC is in a precarious financial position, as it has emptied its deposits to meet the deficits in two consecutive years, 2015-16 and 2017-18. Such situation is partly due to payment of ₹350 crore to the Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) as per the State government’s directives, towards losses sustained by the latter in its city operations.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 10:11:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/dues-mount-for-ghmc-contractors-in-agitation-mode/article25853891.ece

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