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Awaiting payment for 2.5 yrs, toilet contractors left in the lurch in Dungarpur

Udaipur : Several contractors contracted by the district administration to construct toilets in various panchayats of Dungarpur district are left in a lurch. Dungarpur was declared to be the first ODF tribal district of Rajasthan under the Swachh Bharat mission on October 2, 2017. It was proudly announced then that the district administration achieved the goal of building 2 lakh 85 thousand toilets in the 291 panchayats as per the baseline survey.

However, the stinking side of the story is some odd 100 contractors have been awaiting their payment for over two years now. ” Around 9 crore rupees are due to us, we are being foot-balled between departments and only given assurances. Our work has received major setback and we are under severe financial crises” they grudge. Meanwhile, legislator Sushil Katara, also the state minister for PHED said that due to some technical issues, payment had been pending. Some have already been released, while some are in due process, he said he would speak to the SBM director and initiate for the earliest release of the funds.

Toilet constructions began in 33 panchayats under the SB mission in 2015 and afterwards 10,000 toilets were build in 2016 in some 100 more panchayats. Despite much difficulties in building toilets in hilly areas with touch terrains, these contractors pooled in their resources to fulfil the target of making the district ODF in the stipulated time. ” The authorities earned wide appreciation from the state as well as the central government for extraordinary efforts in achieving the targets before deadline, but we who too have a share in the success, have been forgotten” Hitesh Agrawal, one of them said. Initially the contractors were given timely payment but later, another provision came into effect calling for the payments to be credited to the beneficiary’s account. Some of the contractors who had completed the loo construction projects before the second provision came into effect, were left midway as the district administration didnt release funds. ” We had duly completed the task and hence our claims were rightful, the administration referred the case to the rural development and Panchayati Raj department.

The district administration has even held the physical verifications of the 10 thousand toilets three to four times out of which 7781 toilets passed the quality parameters” another contractor said. After getting the report,the panchayati raj department directed the collector to release our payment, but even after weeks, there has been no trace of the funds release. ” I invested 34 lakh rupees then for the task. I am a cancer patient and undergone a surgery too recently. Financial constraints have hitting me hard and its getting really hard to support my family” Devendra Kumar another contractor said.

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