Contractors stage flash protest over pending bills

Pandemonium ruled the office of the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) on New Sayyaji Rao Road, here, on Friday, as the contractors staged a flash protest, demanding the settlement of arrears towards bills, to the tune of Rs 96.80 crore from the local body. Following the protest, the council meeting was deferred for sometime.

A section of the contractors, owing allegiance to the MCC Contractors Association, led by their president Chandrashekaraiah squatted at the corridor, in the ground floor, demanding clearance of pending bills till August. The civic body is owing the amount since four years. The aggrieved contractors were raising slogans against Commissioner C G Betsurmath, forcing Mayor R Lingappa to postpone the council meeting for half-an-hour.

The mayor returned to his chamber, only to be besieged by the corporators, who trained their guns at the commissioner. This led to a heated exchange of words between the commissioner and the corporators.

The commissioner claimed, “I have been making honest efforts to settle the arrears by mobilising available resources. A total of Rs 115 crore remains to be cleared till now and I am fully aware of it”.

However, Betsurmath took objection to contractors bringing the issue to his house and questioned the veracity behind it. Chandrashekaraiah contended that he was forced to meet the Commissioner at his house as the contractors are apprehensive over their future. “Most of them have borrowed from money lenders and banks and if the situation continues, they will be pushed to penury,” he added.

Betsurmath, who was not ready to buy Chandrashekaraiah’s argument, warned of legal action for raising slogans against him, even as the council was underway.

Mayor R Lingappa and Corporators Satish (Sandesh Swamy), M J Ravikumar, K T Chaluvegowda, K V Mallesh and others — who intervened later — succeeded in brokering a truce. However, Corporator H S Nandish Preetham incited the contractors again by joining them in their protest. The agitators were forced to vacate as the mayor directed the police personnel to arrest them.

Chandrashekaraiah told media persons, the contractors will stop all types of works from Saturday in protest against the negligence of the officials in issuing pending bills.
DH News Service

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