Contractors continue to wait for clearing bills

Though elected representatives have been issuing statements on dumping boulders to check sea erosion, the contractors who have been engaged in providing relief to the dwellers by dumping boulders are still waiting for clearing their bill of Rs 1.75 crore for the last three years.

The elected representatives and officials who had pressurised the contractors to take up the work have not shown any concern towards payment of their bills.

As a result, contractors are not showing keen interest in the work pertaining to the department of ports and inland water transport.

“We dumped boulders to ensure that poor should not lose their houses. However, we have incurred loss and are waiting for clearing our bills,” said a contractor.

Sea erosion had intensified in Ullal in 2010. Hence, the contractor took up the work on constructing temporary sea walls at 55 places in Ullal region and 32 places in Mukka region. “Residents of Subhash Nagar, Shepherd Church, Hilary Nagara and surrounding areas had expressed satisfaction over the quality of work.

However, it took more than one year for the department of ports and inland water transport to approve the work initiated by us. However, even after three years, I am yet to get money for the work initiated. I am waiting for Rs 50 lakh from the department. Another contractor has to get Rs 75 lakh. All those contractors who had taken up the work from the department of ports and inland water transports are not ready to take up any work now,” said contractor Kodikal Purushotham Kulal to Deccan Herald.

Temporary sea walls will last only for six months. If the intensity of sea erosion increases, then all the boulders dumped will be washed away by the sea. For the temporary work, the department director had sought a report from Karnataka Engineering Research Centre. Based on the request, the KERC has already submitted its report. Unfortunately, the KERC had inspected the area after one and half years, said Purushotham.

The contractors have all the proof for the work initiated during 2010. However, they are still waiting for the funds to be released.

Sources in the department of ports said “in the past funds available under Natural Calamity Relief Fund was utilised for taking up temporary work to check sea erosion.
However, as there was audit objection to it, no funds are released from Natural Calamity Relief Fund to take up relief work since 2008-09. This has been hampering any relief work.

The department has to take up work under the banner of flood relief work.”

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