Bengaluru: A war of words broke out between Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner M Lakshminarayana and contractors on Monday, over the delay by the Palike in clearing pending bills amounting to Rs 1,500 crore.
The contractors barged inside the BBMP office where a press conference was being held by Mayor N Shanthakumari and Palike Commissioner Lakshminarayana. They besieged the commissioner and said that the pending bills had not been cleared since March, 2013.
R Ambikapathy, president of the BBMP Contractors’ Association said “We have submitted many memorandums to the Palike higher officials and have been meeting the commissioner once in two weeks. However, no action has been taken till date.
We will not execute the works awarded to us by the BBMP if we do not get the payment in the next four days. A majority of the contractors whose payments need to be cleared are civil contractors.”
The contractors asked the commissioner to at least release the amount pending for the month of March, 2013 immediately. They also asked for special Letter of Credit (LoC) to which the commissioner said that he could only sanction general LoC. Special LoC means release of amount based on seniority of the contractors.
“As the Palike is facing financial crisis, there has been difficulty in clearing pending bills. A total of Rs 80 crore is pending for the month of March in 2013 and we will release it in the next four to five days. We will seek Rs 52 crore assistance from State government and Rs 20 crore from zonal offices of the BBMP. The remaining amount will be collected from charges levied on Optical Fibre Cables (OFCs) and will pay the dues for March 2013,” the commissioner said.
He added that a total of Rs 1,500 crore pending bills were to be cleared. “The financial situation in the Palike will improve once we collect property tax in March and April, next year. We will also be getting Rs 1,000 crore under the Nagarothana scheme. By March next year, we will clear Rs 500 crore bills.” Meanwhile, the contractors threatened that if the payment for March, 2013 was not cleared then they would stage a protest.