‘Centre refuses to release funds for Irrigation Works’

Srinagar:  Amid boycott by the valley based contractors, Union Government reportedly refused to pay crores of rupees payable to the contractors for works on the beautification and desilting of the three major canals of the valley.

The Union Government is understood to have termed the project as the gross violation of the rules and said that there wasn’t any approval sought from the centre whereas the tenders floated for the project mentioned that the 90 percent of the expenses would be borne by the centre.

According to sources state Irrigation department had floated tenders in 2009-10 inviting tenders for the beautification of Zainager, Grmuntoo and Lar canals. The estimated cost for the Zainager canal was 73 crores, whereas it was 50 crore for Grmuntoo canal in Kulgam and 32 crore for Lar Canal in Budgam. According to sources at least 200 contractors were engaged in the work on all the three projects which had according to the negotiations between the department and Contractors 90 percent funding from the centre whereas the rest 10 percent was to be released by the state government. The sources added that the state government released its share of 10 percent however the 90 percent of the funds were not released by the union government.

However soon after taking over the PHE portfolio, PHE minster Sham Lal Sharma had assured contractors that the pending bills would be released within 15 days and he would seek help of JKPCC Chief Prof Saif ud din Soz to get funds released from the centre.

But according to sources the union government has refused to release the funds saying, no approval was sought from the centre before floating the tenders. The centre is believed to have observed that the project was to please the blue eyed people and it had a political motivation behind it. The Minster for PHE Sham Lal Sharma and MoS Nazir Ahmad Gurezi could not be reached for comments. KNS

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