From a Correspondent
JORHAT, October 19: Alleging negligible attitude of the State Water Resource department and the State Government for not releasing the dues amounting to Rs 1,500 crore of 22,000 odd small and big contractors of the State and instead allowing fincially sound and reputed contractors of other departments and other top multi-tiol companies to contest in tenders, the Jorhat district Water Resources Contractors Association staged a demonstration for two hours at the office of the water resource department in Jorhat on Wednesday.
The contractors, led by president Ramesh Dutta and general secretary Polashjyoti Saikia, while addressing media persons said, “Around 22,000 contractors have been playing a major role in Assam and as per prevalent rules of the government, the contractors are first required to complete the allotted work using their own fincial resources and then submit bills. It is only because of the water resource department contractors that major disasters have been averted during the flood season but still we have been deprived in the me of lack of funds.”
The contractors further reiterated, “In a state like Assam where unemployment is one of the major problems, the water resource department is still functioning smoothly because contractors are the backbone of the department and have been relentlessly helping the department overcome obstacles related to flood and erosion. On the other hand, we strongly oppose the department’s recent move to declare ‘One scheme one group’ by which large companies and individual firms have gained access to participate in the various tenders and a rumour about e-tendering is already doing rounds, which if applied, will totally devastate the contractors. This is nothing but a ploy to oust us and deprive us of our legitimate dues. In the wake of non-competition due to lack of finces, the big companies seems to have entered into a kind of nexus with top department officers to pocket a big percentage from the funds allotted for works like strengthening of the embankments and hence we decided to stage a sit-in and forwarded a memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal through the Jorhat Deputy Commissioner Virendra Mittal.”
The primary demands put forward in the memorandum include creation of a group enlisted with contractors from the third to the first category and which can participate in any tender floated by the water resource department, besides restrictions on participation of other department contractors and companies/private sectors from bidding in water resource department contracts/tenders and filly the last demand being to stop registration of other department contractors in the water resources department.