Kochi: The Kochi Corporation Contractors’ Association (KCCA) has launched an indefinite strike on Sat-urday in protest against the non-payment of bill dues to the tune of more than Rs 85 cr. According to the Association, arrears since February 2017 are pending and the contractors are in deep financial crisis.
“Contractors have stopped all works including the emergency works like the drain and canal cleaning ahead of monsoon. The annual Plan fund works and projects under AMRUT have also been stopped,” said M.R. Binu, president of KCCA.
Delay in carrying out pre-monsoon cleaning works will result in heavy flooding in the city during monsoon. With only one and half months left for the monsoon to begin, de-silting and cleaning of drains and canals has to be finished at the earliest. Cleaning of drains, started last week has been stopped completely.
The contractors alleged that it is because of the financial mismanagement of the corporation that it failed to pay the arrears. “We were forced to launch strike during the summer when emergency cleaning works have to be carried out as we have no other opti-on,” said a contractor.
The Association representatives alleged that the mayor was not even ready to hear their grievances when they tried to meet her. “The civic body should immediately cle-ar dues up to December 2017 without which we can’t take even a single work,” said Kumbalam Ravi, KCCA president.
Meanwhile, mayor Soumini Jain refuted the allegation that no payment has made in recent past. “We have disbursed `10 crore recently. It is not possible to clear all arrears at one stretch. It can be distributed based on priority. A negotiation meeting will be convened soon with them,” said Ms. Jain.
On March 12, the Association conducted protest march to the corporation demanding payment of bill dues. Howe-ver, the civic administration failed to invite contractors for negotiation talks or to make part payment....