Irate Contractors Storm BBMP Office Over Bills
BENGALURU: The Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) contractors gheraoed Commissioner M Lakshminarayana on Monday for not clearing their bills for several months. While some abused the Commissioner, others tried to manhandle him, forcing the police to intervene.
The incident took place when Lakshminarayana, Mayor Shanthakumari and ruling party leader N R Ramesh had called a press meet to announce the introduction of the online payment system in the BBMP from Wednesday. The contractors barged into the meeting hall and demanded that Lakshminarayana pay bills that have been pending since March 2013.
A contractor said, “The bills of those who take a Letter of Credit from influential people are are cleared. But we have loans to repay.”
Another contractor blamed councillors. “Every time, BBMP authorities assure us that they will release funds. But we are fed up as no money has been released,” he said.
After convincing the contractors that he would release funds soon, Lakshminarayana told reporters that they were demanding clearance of bills for six months from March 2013. Of these, the bill for March alone is close to `84 crore.
“We have requested the state government. They have assured us that they will release `52 crore from the State Finance Commission by Monday evening. We have not cleared the optical fibre cable files. Once we do, we are expecting a sum of `20 crore. We will first clear the bill for March. Bills for the other months are lesser and can be cleared easily. We will get funds from the state government and other civic agencies by the end of March,” he said.
The Commissioner said that henceforth, special Letters of Credit will be discouraged. “All the existing letters will have to come through the Technical Vigilance Cell under the Commissioner (TVCC). We will clear their bills only if the TVCC approves,” he said.