Speaking on condition of anonymity, the contractors said, “if we are not paid immediately, we will seek legal remedy. With the cost of raw materials, including iron, steel, tar and cement, rising, immediate payment is a must if we have to survive.”
Lamenting that in the absence of a district level association, a few contractors said DRDA officials who worked with alacrity in the previous regime by passing their bills immediately were now acting indifferently and “asking us to come on different dates.”
Another disappointing factor was that all contractors were given jobs in the previous regime, but same practice was not being followed after the DMK government assumed office, the contractors said.
While some alleged that ruling DMK functionaries were trying to prevent the payment of arrears, Vellore city officials downplayed the charge. “There is no political pressure. Even last month we paid Rs 9 crore to contractors. The problem is that contractors refuse to provide quality certificates for the material they used and when we ask them to do so, they demur,” an official said. Only when they do so can we provide work completion certificates which will help them get their pending dues, the officials added.
The contractors also claimed that repeated calls to the Highways DE at Gandhinagar went unanswered.