Valley contractors who begun their 36 hour long hunger strike here on Saturday, today called off the strike on the intervention of CPI (M) state secretary, Muhammad Yusuf Tarigami.
“Tarigami has assured us that he will take up our demands and problems with the government at higher levels after which we decided to call off the hunger strike. However, if the government fails to fulfill our demands by June 20, we will suspend work on all projects going on across the state,” Jammu and Kashmir Contractors’ Central Coordination Committee President Farooq Ahmad Dar told a local news agency, KNS.
Meanwhile, calling for urgent release of payments, opposition parties today castigated the government accusing it of failing on all fronts. They termed the contractors agitation as a just struggle for securing their rights.
Main opposition People’s Democratic Party while accusing the government of playing foul with the contractors said the contractors’ demands should be fulfilled and their dues paid at the earliest. “Nobody will go on a hunger strike for no reason. Their dues have been withheld basically because the central government reduced state’s annual plan for year 2012-13 by 2000 crore rupees as a penalty as the state government failed to utilize bulk of the funds. The government has been getting un-sanctioned works executed through the contractors and then they leave them in the lurch to fend for themselves,” PDP Chief Spokesman Nayeem Akhter told KNS.
Terming the current economic scenario in the state as a matter of worry, the PDP leader said that if the situation continues to remain such, ‘the state might fall into a deep financial crisis’.
“The Jammu and Kashmir Bank had the status of Reserve Bank in the state but the present government relinquished all financial autonomy and powers in favour of the RBI. They have also failed in implementing the centrally sponsored schemes also,” Akhter alleged.
Communist Party of India Marxist, State Secretary, M Y Tarigami, said he would take up the matter with the government at the earliest ‘so that work on important projects does not suffer’.
“The government should look into the issues of contractors and fulfill their just demands. However, the contractors should also see whether funds are available for the projects which they execute,” Tarigami said while talking to KNS.
While expressing concern over the government’s non seriousness towards developmental works, Tarigami said it was not fair to withhold payments of the contractors. “700 crore rupees is not a small amount. Government’s such attitude could stall all developmental projects in the state. He also appealed the contractors to review their strategy in view of short season for developmental works in the valley.
Meanwhile, Awami Etihaad leader and MLA Langate, Engineer Rashid accused the state government of failing to pay up the dues of the contractors who are now on the road to agitate their issues. He said the outstanding balance of Rs 700 crore is a grave issue and should be addressed at the earliest. “They get works executed in particular areas of their choice but later leave them to fend for themselves. “The contractors also pay 20 to 30 per cent commissioner to officers and it would be impossible from them to run their business when the government withholds their funds. The state government has also failed to deal with the central government as far as managing funds for different schemes and projects, is concerned,” Engineer Rashid alleged.