Contractors Demand Release Of Rs 161 Crores

KL Report

SRINAGAR

An association of contractors Monday alleged that Jammu and Kashmir government had withheld payments to the tune of Rs 161 crore for works already completed over the past four years and demanded immediate release of the dues.

“The government has not released our long pending payments against the works which have already been completed. An amount of Rs 161 crore is pending with the government for the works of last four years,” president of Kashmir Hot Mix Plant Owners Association Mir Mohammad Farooq said.

Farooq further said that they have taken up the issue with the government at all levels, but nothing has happened.

“We went to everyone, but to no avail. We met Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and he assured us the payment would be released soon, but nothing happened. They only make hollow promises,” he said.

He claimed that the chief minister had assured them that the payments would be released once the Centre releases Rs 1400 crore to the state.

“By March end the Centre released Rs 1200 crore to the state, but still our payments are pending,” he alleged.

Farooq said the people associated with the trade are facing acute difficulties and warned of serious consequences if the payment is not released immediately.

“About 1500 families are directly involved with this trade. And then there are others who are impacted, like crusher owners, transport operators and labourers. We are not in a position to work any further and if the payment is not released immediately, we will intensify our agitation and the government will be responsible for the consequences,” he said.

The association also requested the government to have a policy of “department to department” facilitation of tax returns, so that they do not face any hardships.

“The present government increased the service tax from 4.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent. We did not protest, but we have time and again requested the government to have a ‘department to department facilitation’ of tax returns. The government levies tax on us at the source before we receive our payments, and then the Sales Tax Department goes after us for not depositing tax,” Farooq said.

He said though, there is a process of e-tendering in the state, but there are no facilities in place for it.

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