Port connectivity work halted over pending payments
10th October 2019, 02:47 Hrs
the goan I network
Work on the ambitious four-lane highway port connectivity project between Verna and Mormugao Port Trust has come to a grinding halt over pending payments and several engineers, contractors, workers and vendors of the project staged an agitation on Wednesday to demand their dues.
A group of about 100 engineers, contractors, workers and vendors gathered at the Gammon India site office in Baina and began agitating to demand pending salaries and other dues for the last 6-8 months.
Gammon India has been awarded the contract to construct the port connectivity project estimated at around Rs 540 crore.
Officials of Gammon India along with aggrieved engineers, vendors, contractors and staff approached the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) office in Sada and engaged in a detailed discussion on pending payments.
Refuting the issue of pending payments, the NHAI has suggested that the aggrieved people could approach PWD officials for clarity in the matter.
At one time, the situation
turned ugly with the agitated contractors almost entering into a fight with Gammon India officials at the site.
The aggrieved contractors and workers have demanded that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant depute either the chief secretary or the PWD principal chief engineer to New Delhi to resolve the issue.
According to sources, work on the port connectivity project has been stopped because several contractors who had brought in materials and workforce have not received their payments since the last six months.
“Payments of around Rs 25-30 crore are yet to be released and contractors who had purchased materials for the project using their own funds, with many even taking loans, have not been paid as yet. The labourers are not paid. Vendors have stopped supplying materials to this project. The works have been stopped because there is no supply of materials, workforce and staff payment,” said the source.
Speaking to reporters, the contractors said they had approached Gammon India office several times, but were only given assurances since the last few months.
“We are struggling with payments and even our staff and workforce are asking for payments. We do not know how to deal with the situation and hence, we decide to gherao the site office simultaneously with other affected vendors and contractors,” said a contractor.
“We have had to handle fines of GST and besides, our workers are trying to run away and not willing to work. We have no money and all our savings have been put up to continue works for the last six months despite non-payments, causing us financial and mental stress.”
“Gammon India says bills have been put up to NHAI, while NHAI says payment has to be received from PWD and the PWD says MPT has to be informed. We do not know where to go,” lamented the contractor.
No issue of dues, Gammon India
stopped work on its own: NHAI
VASCO: Refuting claims of outstanding payments, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has claimed that Gammon India had stopped working on its own.
“The issue of payments is not there. Whatever payments due have been cleared with Gammon India. I feel that Gammon India diverted all payments made to them into other projects,” said NHAI Project Director PS Dodamani.
“There are some technical issues of deviation to the tune of Rs 95 crore and the issue has already been referred to NHAI headquarters in New Delhi and is yet to be resolved.”
“Gammon India has a lot of work to be done besides this technical issue of deviation. Gammon India can continue to work but we do not know why they are not at work.”
“If they claim they don’t have the money, it is not true and they may have diverted the money to a different project. We recently cleared around Rs 50 lakh three days ago. if Gammon India places bills which don’t have approval, we cannot pay them,” Dodamani added. Bills of about Rs 24 crore pending: Gammon India
VASCO: An official of Gammon India has admitted that works on the four-lane highway port connectivity project between Verna and Mormugao Port Trust have been stopped since the last few months due to non-payment of contractors for the last six months.
“Work has completely stopped because of pending payments. Our bills of around Rs 24 crore have been passed by the PWD and is with NHAI and we are ourselves facing losses of Rs 2 crore a month as idling charges, because our manpower, equipment and machinery are idle,” said the Gammon India official M Prakash.
“All contractors and vendors from Goa have arrived here for payments. We are yet to receive our own payment and it is like a chain process. We receive payments and we give it to our vendors and contractors, but the chain has been broken since the last 6-8 months. The entire project has been stalled as of now,” said Prakash.
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