Contractors defer strike, but vow to continue to fight against ‘40% commission’

The Karnataka Contractors’ Association, which had earlier alleged commission in public works going up to 40%, has indefinitely deferred its strike that was earlier scheduled for May 25. It has maintained that it would continue the fight against the “commission problem” in executing public works.

The decision came after logistic issues cropped since about 50,000 contractors across the State were to attend the strike in Bengaluru.

“The State Government has responded to many of our problems. However, the biggest problem is the commission menace that touches 40%. On top of it, we have to pay a GST of 17.5 %. How do you expect quality work? We will shortly announce the date for our strike after the office-bearers’ meet,” a senior office-bearer of the association said. He estimated that the pending bills for public works across the State was about ₹25,000 crore with several bills older than three years.

The strike call had embarrassed the Government that is facing the allegation of corruption and had been followed by a meeting of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the association office-bearers on April 25. Following the meeting, the State Government took a slew of measures to meet the contractors’ demand.

While last week the Government appointed the pre-tender scrutiny committee, on Wednesday it capped the tender premium at 5% and clearance of bills based on the seniority. The office-bearer said that the single cover system in which no condition will be laid down has been enhanced up to ₹3 crore, seniority in payment has been announced transparency in the tender has been assured and package system is to be followed for works above ₹1 crore that will help local contractors.

Further, he said that the Chief Minister has assured to bring the tendering process in the KIADB within six months. “The bigger problem is the commission. We will continue to fight and create public opinion. There is no question of withdrawing the strike. We also have to be wary during the election year.”

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Printable version | Jun 23, 2022 2:17:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/contractors-defer-strike-but-vow-to-continue-to-fight-against-40-commission/article65407941.ece