Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Contractors' Association has set a deadline of June 5 for the ruling Congress-led government in Karnataka to clear pending bills worth Rs 2,500 crore, Asianetnews reported.
The Association will halt all ongoing civic works if their demands are not met before the deadline.
On May 22, the newly elected Congress government in Karnataka also directed heads of various departments in the state to immediately halt all development projects initiated by the previous BJP government and withhold the release of funds for the work executed with immediate effect.
A circular to this effect was issued by the state finance secretary to the secretaries, additional secretaries and other officers of all government departments, boards and corporations.
The circular has also explicitly asked the department and other government bodies to stop the release of funds or payment of bills towards the works taken by all the departments, boards, corporations, and various authorities as per the instructions of the previous dispensation.
The decision by the Congress government to freeze payments of bills for all ongoing and completed works of various departments has also angered the Contractors' Association.
According to K. T. Manjunath, president of BBMP Contractors' Association, over 1,000 contractors will be affected by this decision, and their debts have been mounting. Manjunath has claimed that bills dating back to May 2021 have not been claimed.
The BBMP Contractors' Association also fears that the new government is deferring its payment in a bid to mobilise the funds for implementing the five 'guarantees' it has promised the voters in the run-up to the election.
While the ruling party is attempting to portray the move as part of its promise to investigative the alleged misdeeds of the previous government, the 'stop work, stop payment,' circular is likely to be a fiscal step aimed at funding the freebies that are believed to have a played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the recent assembly elections.
Tushar Giri Nath, Chief Commissioner, BBMP, confirmed that payments were withheld during the election period, but with the government notification, the freeze on payments would continue until further orders.
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