KOLLAM: Various infrastructure development works across the state have been stopped as the contractors under the Kerala Government Contractors’ Association (KGCA) have decided to stop the contract works till the government pays the contractors `2,500 crore due to them. The association has been boycotting tenders since June 1 raising various demands. The association has started the second phase of protest by stopping works as the government is yet to take action to clear the dues of contractors.
The KGCA alleged that the government had imposed 14.5 per cent additional tax in the form of purchase tax for construction material in addition to the compound tax of 3 per cent.
The association demanded immediate withdrawal of this tax as it was not practical to ascertain the value of items purchased from local suppliers. “For the validation of purchases, there is only one centre by the name Works Contract office for the entire district. This itself gives scope for corruption,” said association state president Varghese Kannambally the other day.
He also said that the government had excluded big companies undertaking big contract works such as L&T, Kochi Metro etc from these obligations.
The association alleged that the government was adopting double standards in dealing with various types of contract works. “The bills of big contractors who are involved in projects like Kochi Metro gets cleared within 24 hours while we are waiting for such clearance for the past 10 months,” Kannambally said.
The association demanded an immediate end to the reforms in PWD manual. The Irrigation Minister and PWD Minister had been entrusted with suggesting reforms, and they had done so without consulting the contractors.
The KGCA is planning to extend their protest in front of the residence of Ministers on ‘Thiruvonam’.