Non payment of pending bills has forced the government contractors in Andhra Pradesh onto the streets, literally. Across the state, hundreds of government contractors staged protests demanding that the AP Government clear the pending bills for the works executed long back. The contractors of the irrigation, roads and buildings, panchayat raj, municipal, health and several other departments have taken to streets demanding immediate clearance of their pending bills.
According to the estimates, the total pending contractor bills are of the order of Rs 80000 crore. The irrigation department alone has to pay around Rs 10000 crore to the contractors. Similarly, the health department owes Rs 2000 crore. The Andhra Pradesh Medical Services and Infrastructure Development Corporation (APMSIDC) has to clear pending bills worth Rs 800 crore. Similarly, the National Health Mission (NHM) wing has t clear pending bills worth Rs 900 crore.
The protesting contractors held banners and posters that said that from patrons, they were now reduced to being beggars. They demanded early clearance of the bills. Their bills remain pending ever since the YSRCP came to power. As a result, most contractors are now refusing to take up any new work in Andhra Pradesh. The ire of many contractors is that the YSRCP government has stopped payments as it feels that most of the contractors were TDP sympathisers and requested it to release the funds as it was the government's obligation to pay the contractors.
It may be recalled that the Jagan government has stopped payment of the contractors' bills for the Employment Guarantee Scheme for the same reason. However, the contractors approached the court, which directed the government to pay the bills. The AP Government has cleared these bills only after the court's verdict.