IMPHAL, May 12: The office of the Central Public Work Department (CPWD) located in Changangei was locked down by contractors demanding release of their pending bills and complaining of unaffordable strictures for them.
Khumukcham Subhas, the spokesperson of Working Contractors Association Manipur said that state contractors carrying out projects under CPWD have been facing various grievances from many years. There are two different categories under CPWD with regards to awarding of works, which are the Manipur central division and Manipur project division.
He cited that under the category of Manipur project division, the Central Government had earmarked Rs 300-400 crores for construction of National Institute of Technology at Langol.
However, before the invitation of the tender for the works, the contractors were asked to deposit about one-third of the total estimated cost. According to Subshas, the CPWD is yet to release around Rs 25 crore to the contractors as due payment.
Another problem faced by the contractors is the ceiling on transportation cost which they claimed has been set in total disregard of the prevailing conditions in the state.
“Manipur is an economically backward state. Above that there is problem in transportation due to hilly terrain and illegal tax collection by armed groups and others.
The cost of materials used in the contract works and transportation charges have been fixed after taking the opinion of a work agency from Guwahati without the consent of contractors of state. While fixing transportation charges, it is very unfortunate that CPWD has fixed charges without knowledge of various illegal tax collected by anti-social elements. We contractors highly condemned the decision of CPWD,” he stated.
At present a big project under CPWD in underway but unfortunately there is no chief project manager. The shortage of the manager has resulted in problems on payment of bills and failure in sending report on progress of project to the centre, he stated.
The demand of the contractors is release of due payments, fixation of market rates of contract work after consultation of state contractors, posting of a regular CPWD project manager for Manipur, non- application of RPF, labour license in state like Manipur without proper transportation facility and removal of milestones on contract works of CPWD.
Until and unless CPWD heed to the demands of contractors the indefinite agitation of locking down the office will continue, said Subhas.