The Irrigation and Flood Control Department still owes liabilities of around Rs 10 Crores to the contractors for de-silting various canals of Jammu in the last few years. However, even after annual routine de-silting of the canals, the canals across Jammu province especially in the city areas are overflowing with silt, garbage, polythene carry bags and are in dire need of de-silting.
Sources told that the government owes contractors around Rs. 10 Crores. This huge sum mounted as these contractors have not been paid for last many years. A contractor complained that the concerning department has not even cleared dues for the last year when liabilities of last many years is pending. He added that many contractors, who were given the contract for more than Rs. 40 Lakhs have been paid only Rs. 10 Lakhs, considering the fact that more than 75 percent of their liabilities have not been cleared by the department since last many years.
The contractors further said that they continue to perform de-silting work with a hope that their dues of previous years will be cleared. But, to their disappointment, the department doesn’t clear their liabilities and as a consequence, this total sum has been piled up to such a huge amount.
The sources informed that the government department has been inviting contractors in the past even when they didn’t have necessary funds. In the absence of sufficient amount of funds, pending amount piled up.
However, the canals across Jammu region are not in a good shape. In the city areas, their condition is pathetic and they are filled with garbage heaps scattered all around, polythene bags and wastage of shops and houses.
An official said that most of the people in the area, especially shopkeepers residing along the canal areas are habitual of dumping the wastage in the canals and polluting them. People are not responsible about the preservation of water bodies. If people stop throwing wastage, garbage, polythene carry bags into canals, then de-silting works will require very less funds but it doesn’t seems to be happening in near future.
Hamesh Manchanda, Chief Engineer Irrigation Department, admitted that government owes contractors a lot of money and their payments last few years are pending. He said that the liabilities of contractors of last year have been cleared in full and payments of the upcoming de-silting works will also be cleared on time. He also said that the liabilities of the last few years will be cleared gradually.