If there is any road or footpath repair, pothole filling or any other civil work that is happening in your locality, be warned. It could all stop abruptly, thanks to the BBMP's delay in clearing contractors' bills worth Rs 1,000 crore from the last two years.

 

The contractors' association has warned of stopping all works related to the BBMP.

 

"The BBMP needed to settle a whopping Rs 1,928 crore worth of bills in the last four years and have cleared only about Rs 700 crore in instalments so far. A delegation of BBMP contractors recently met BBMP commissioner and demanded immediate release of funds but they said they are yet to mobilise the resources. They said once they generate property tax, they would release some more money into the association's account," stated Ambikapathi, President, BBMP contractors' association.

 

The bills from BBMP have been pending since 2015. Many of the workers like masons, assistants and drivers have left as there was no payment. The contractors had to pledge their family members' jewellery and property to settle the payment.

 

"The settlement of workers has been done but the cash borrowed from banks and other money lenders is giving us sleepless nights as they keep knocking on our doors. If the BBMP fails to clear our dues on time, many families will suffer," said Ambikapathi.

 

The BBMP had recently met the association members and made a proposal to release Rs 20 crore every month into the contractors' account. Although the contractors' association agreed to the idea, they are sceptical about the BBMP as it is known for giving false assurances.

 

A senior contractor recalled an incident of false assurances by the BBMP, regarding clearing of Rs 40 lakh to a contractor named Girish, which resulted in him committing suicide in 2013. 

 

"After almost a year I got about Rs 36 lakh but the interests had shot up by then. My brother-in-law took the initiative to distribute the money. Meanwhile, I learnt that I should also get Rs 3 lakh as the BBMP should return the contractor's licence fee but they have been delaying that," said Bhagya Girish, Girish's widow.

 

BBMP commissioner Manjunath Prasad, who received the representation from the association, is hopeful of clearing the money to the contractors slowly but surely.

 

"The tax collection is still an ongoing process and the BBMP has now decided to clear some amount monthly, to clear the contractor's dues," Manjunath said.