SRIKAKULAM: Taking a dig at higher officials for ‘misleading’ Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on prevailing rates at which material components were supplied to contractors for NREGS works, ruling YSRC MLA Dharmana Prasada Rao on Tuesday said the Standard Schedule of Rates (SSR) fixed by the State government were not viable.
Finding fault with the government for the huge variation between the SSR and the prevailing market rates of material components, the senior YSRC leader underlined the need to increase the cost of materials. Speaking to newsmen here on Tuesday, he highlighted problems faced by the NREGS work contractors. According to sources, the former minister’s outburst against his own party ruled government came after he received several complaints regarding non-payment of bills to the contractors for NREGS works executed in the district.
The contractors allegedly informed him that they were getting 30% loss in executing NRGS works. The government has taken up construction of village secretariats, compound walls of schools and other development works under the NREGS.
Prasada Rao said, “As per the SSR, the government has been paying `250 for a cement bag, `2,500 for a tractor load of sand and `50,000 for a tonne of steel to the contractor. However, the rates of cement, sand and iron in the open market are `380, `5,000 and `73,000 respectively. The contractors are incurring losses due to huge variation between the SSR and market rates. The government has failed to supply cement for works taken up under the NREGS.’’
He further said majority of contractors executing NREGS works in villages were local YSRC leaders. They took up the works to ensure the success of development initiatives launched by the YSRC government even if it was not viable for them at the low SSR, the MLA explained.
“The low SSR should not be a hurdle to the development of the State. There is of no use to put pressure on officials to complete NREGS works unless the SSR is revised,” he observed. Prasada Rao went on to add that some higher officials were misleading the Chief Minister in this regard. Consequently, the YSRC government was getting a bad name, he said. “I have explained the ground level situation with respect to NREGS works to Panchayat Raj Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy. He promised to resolve the issue soon.”