QUEEN'S ROAD: A section of contractors staged a protest against the delay in payment of pending bills for various BBMP projects here on Monday.
The agitation was held at the BBMP office around the same time as opposition leader Padmanabha Reddy’s press conference in connection with the same.
Reddy said that the BBMP officials had blatantly violated the High Court order and the state government’s directions, according to which the pending bills had to be cleared on the seniority of claims.
“The officials have released bills to the tune of Rs 179 crore in violation of the directions,” he said, and blamed the BBMP commissioner and chief accounts officer (CAO).
While payment for the works that were taken up in 2013 are yet to be made, the BBMP authorities appear to be in a hurry to clear pending bills of Rajarajeshwari Nagar, Yelahanka and KR Puram constituencies, he alleged.
He further said that around Rs 9 crore was paid as ‘commission’ at the CAO’s office and demanded that the state government take action against the commissioner and the CAO.
“Whoever is responsible for releasing the funds should be punished. If not, the BJP will press charges of contempt of court,” Reddy said.
Meanwhile, a section of contractors staged a demonstration on the BBMP premises, alleging irregularities in the payment of bills. They complained that the online system designed to clear bills was not working properly and that payments were being made in a random manner.
“There are people who are yet to receive payment for works done two to three years ago, while others are receiving payments for works they completed only a few months ago,” the protestors said.
BBMP Commissioner Kumar Naik, who met the protesters, assured that issues pertaining to the online payment of bills would be sorted out soon. The protesters also laid siege to the mayor’s office, citing similar demands.
Commissioner promises action
“All payments made to contractors whose bills have been kept pending are reflected on the BBMP website,” said BBMP Commissioner G Kumar Naik on Monday. “However, following complaints that the system is not foolproof, we will take steps to rectify it.” No details pertaining to payment of bills are hidden, he said. “If contractors find any violation in terms of seniority or others, they should bring it to our attention so that it could be verified.” The pending bills are to the tune of Rs 2,300 crore to Rs 2,400 crore. In the current budget, Rs 1,200 crore has been allocated just to clear the bills. The financial condition of BBMP does not allow the civic body to set a deadline, he added.