A delegation of the Karnataka Contractors Association meets CM Siddaramaiah over the issue of clearance of pending bills. (Image: News18)
It was Karnataka Contractors’ Association president D Kempanna who had levelled allegations of ‘40 percent commission’ against BJP government, which became an election slogan for Congress in the state
The chief of the Karnataka Contractors’ Association met Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah, a day after the contractors’ body of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike wrote to administrative chief Tushar Girinath demanding clearance of pending bills of construction works within June 5.
It was Karnataka Contractors’ Association president D Kempanna who had levelled allegations of ‘40 percent commission’ against the BJP government, which became an election slogan for the Congress in the state. Kempanna had alleged that the previous government harboured corrupt officials and demanded a 40 percent commission every time the contractors asked it to clear pending bills related to construction works.
“Yes, the BBMP Contractors’ Association has written to the BBMP chief and also appealed to the CM to ensure that the BBMP releases the payment for bills related to construction works. The association has said bills from 2021, amounting to Rs 2,500 crore, are pending clearance by the civic body. The CM has sought time to review the pending bills. Hopefully, they will soon be cleared,” Kempanna told News18.
He added: “I also wanted to speak about pending bills worth over Rs 22,000 crore from different government departments, including public works, irrigation and BBMP to CM, which I had mentioned when the BJP was in power. The CM has assured us that he will soon hold a separate meeting to discuss all of this in detail.”
Talking about the alleged death by suicide of a contractor, Santhosh Patil, in April 2022 – which had forced the then rural development and panchayat raj minister K Eshwarappa to resign – Kempanna said, “We will also be firmly demand a judicial probe into the Santhosh Patil suicide case.”
According to sources from the delegation that met the chief minister, in the next meeting, contractors will put forth some demands or suggestions that the Congress government should work on for the welfare of state contractors.
Here are the possible demands that are likely to be discussed:
Before 2019, no goods and services tax was charged. The same should be enforced now because as and when a tender is floated, bribes are charged and GST only adds to the woes of contractors.The state requires an overhaul of the tender allotment process or a provision where a transparent system is in place for tenders and bill payments; this will not put contractors under a financial crunch.The construction work package system, where different works are clubbed together; this only benefits contractors from outside the state and not from Karnataka.A high-level inquiry should be conducted into previous irregularities in different civic departments.