Payments to contractors put on halt as Engineering Wings of ULBs abolished

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SRINAGAR — As the Jammu and Kashmir Government has abolished its Engineering Wing and ordered to conduct future civil works of civic bodies through respective divisions and sub-divisions of the Public Works Department (PWD), the process of releasing payments to the contractors engaged in the civil works of Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) have been stopped.

With the stalling of these payments at the moment, the contractors are likely to get their due payments after 15th March, 2020.

The contractors from Jammu region, whose payments have been stopped for the time being, are in a limbo and have expressed a fear that the department may delay their payments, even after March.

Expressing his apprehension of payments getting delayed even after the set date, one of the contractors said that the department may further linger on the process of releasing their due payments against the works conducted before the order to abolish the Engineering wing was issued, as PWD is running under staff to cross-check all the works and the bills made by Engineering wing of ULBs.

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He accused the government of blocking their payments for already completed works without any reason, adding that it will disrupt other ongoing works as well.

Another contractor said, “At least the bills for already completed works should not be blocked as we have to meet the cost of other ongoing works, viz the material cost and wages to the labor and other related expenditures.”

He further said, “I had completed three works months ago, but my bills are still pending due to lazy approach of the concerned officers and now it will take a further long period to get my bills cleared.”

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Pertinently, Jammu and Kashmir Administrative Council had accorded a sanction on 29th January, 2020 for abolishing Engineering wings of Directorate of Urban Local Bodies of Jammu as well as Kashmir division and to transfer its manpower to Jammu Municipal Corporation (JMC) and Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) respectively.

Meanwhile, according to official sources, the handover and take over process of the records of already completed and ongoing works between ULBs and PWD is underway, which is expected to be completed by 25th February, 2020.

Sources further revealed that permission for advanced withdrawal of payments to the contractors has been granted by the government.

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