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Chandigarh MC’s financial crisis takes a toll on city’s road re-carpeting

Contractors suspend work worth Rs 20 crore across Chandigarh.

punjab Updated: Apr 10, 2018 14:30 IST
Vivek Gupta
Vivek Gupta
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh news,Chandigarh MC,development
A slip road in Sector 41, Chandigarh, whose work has been suspended.(Sikander Singh/HT)

The nearly empty coffers of the Chandigarh municipal corporation (MC) are now taking a toll on the annual maintenance works of the city roads. Contractors, who were alloted road re-carpeting works across the city last year, have suspended work worth Rs 20 crore due to delay in payments.

Speaking on the development, MC commissioner Jitender Yadav said that currently, the MC is clearing only bills below Rs 25 lakh. “The pending payments of contractors will be released once the MC gets its quarterly instalment of the Centre’s grant-in-aid, which is expected to come soon,” said Yadav.

“Re-carpeting has been stopped in my ward, comprising Sectors 37 and 38, due to non-payment of the contractors dues. I appeal to the mayor to intervene in the matter and solve the financial crisis. We will also raise the matter in next House meet.” -Arun Sood, former mayor .

The MC’s accounts branch has requested the Centre to release the entire annual grant of ₹269 crore in one go so that they can earn some interest income on that amount and also meet a few of their additional expenses.

“The response is still awaited,” said a senior accounts officer, on the condition of anonymity. With the exhaustion of its fixed deposit that has gone down to Rs 19 crore from a whopping Rs 400 crore in 2013-14, the MC has lost annual interest income worth nearly Rs 35 crore over the period of time.

A senior official of the engineering department, on the condition of anonymity, said that their works worth ₹20 crore is pending. “We are, however, trying to persuade contractors to start the work at the earliest,” he said.

Difficult to work without payments: Contractors

NH Constructions Ltd, Bindra Associates, Kher Constructions, AK Sood Engineers and Contractors are among the main firms that were allotted re-carpeting works in the inter-sector dividing roads and internal sector roads across the city.

NH construction, which was allotted work worth nearly Rs 8 crore from Sector 36 to 39, has finished work worth only Rs 2 crore so far. The firm has suspended the rest of the work due to delay in clearance of payments of works already completed.

Another contractor AK Sood, whose 30% work is pending, said that it was difficult to start new works without getting payments of previous works. “I am working in corporation since 1994 but I have not seen such a bad financial condition,” he said.

Parmod Bindra of Bindra Associates, whose was alloted work in Sector 34 and other areas, said no contractor can work without due payments as they have their own liabilities to meet.

Sources said that all these contractors met MC Commissioner requesting for disbursal of dues.

Councillors to take up matter in House meet

Sunita Dhawan, the councillor from ward number 4 which include Sectors 36, 23 and 24, said that she will take up the matter of pending re-carpeting works in the coming house meeting. “Installation of the open gym in Sector 23 park is also pending. We need to find a permanent solution to this problem,” she said.

How delay in maintenance will affect MC, residents

In Chandigarh, roads are periodically re-carpeted. Every year, roads that outlive five years of re-carpeting, are constructed again. Last September, contract was allotted for roads in Sectors 22, 23, 24, 34, 36, 37, 40, 41, 42, 43, 52 and Dadumajra which are yet to be finished. An engineering department official said the conditions of roads will deteriorate if they are not re-carpeted before the onset of monsoon. “It will then cause inconvenience to commuters, besides increasing the cost of construction for the MC,” he said

Will get more funds for MC: Mayor

Commenting on the alarming financial health of the corporation, mayor Davesh Moudgil said that he will hold a meeting with senior officials of the administration to increase the MC’s share in UT revenues. “We should get our due share. In my meeting with UT administrator, I was asked to submit the proposal to increase the MC’s share. I will meet him again with a concrete proposal,” he said.

First Published: Apr 10, 2018 14:30 IST