21 Jun 2018
Bengaluru: Unpaid, BBMP-contractors to strike, leaving potholes open, drains clogged
Written byPallabi Chatterjee
Monsoon is set to get rough for Bengalureans, courtesy BBMP's reluctance to pay its contractors.
Three types of workers haven't been paid since two years and in protest, they have stopped their work.
While those who repair roads have threatened to strike, those who desilt storm drains, and streetlight operators have already started their protest.
Meanwhile, BBMP chief assured payments would be done.
Rs. 300cr: Salaries and arrears for two years!
The contractors that remove the silt deposits from open storm-drains have started their protest from today.
They alleged that their salaries and arrears for last two years stand at Rs. 300cr.
"We'll intensify the protest if they don't pay up immediately," said Prakash Babu of Bengaluru Contractors Association.
He informed they had started working in October, and were given a target of 390 drains.
Bengaluru staring at risk of flash floods
"But there's no payment yet. Once bills are submitted, they take 6-months to clear it and every 6-months, the arrears are carried forward and we never end up getting our full payment," said Manjunath, the President of the Association.
Currently, BBMP is working on these drains in eight zones, but with these workers on strike, the city stands at the risk of flash floods.
This monsoon, potholes may also not get repaired
From tomorrow, the road and repair contractors will also stop working in protest, if the civic body doesn't clear up their due of over Rs. 1,500cr.
With these workers on strike, the city's potholes will not be filled up, leaving the motorists at the risk of accidents during monsoons.
Last year's rains left many roads riddled with potholes due to which 10 had died.
Others not paid: Streetlight operators, garbage cleaners, street sweepers
Yesterday 198 wards in Bengaluru didn't have any streetlight on. This was a mark of protest by the Streetlight Operators Association. They, along with the civic workers who keep the streets clean and garbage contractors, demand a release of their salaries without further delay.
BBMP v/s workers
"Bills of bigger contractors (those who bribe)" get cleared first
Meanwhile, BBMP officials shifted the blame to the file-clearing department.
"They are short-staffed. There are three operators who have to handle 700 to 800 files, but do not clear more than 20 per day," a senior official said.
He further said "bills of bigger contractors" get cleared first, a claim that was echoed by Prakash, who added "bigger contractors means those who can bribe."
Payments will be made soon, assures BBMP chief
"BBMP also says the funds they receive will be used to recover the properties they had pledged while obtaining various loans," said Prakash. BBMP Commissioner Maheshwar Rao, however, said "the issue will be tabled before the council and the payments will be made soon."