Srinagar, Sep 1: The contractors associated with National Mission on Saffron Mission (NMS) on Saturday protested for their dues.
The protest, carried under the banner of Graduate Mechanical Contractors Union (GMCU) that is affiliated to KEA and J&K Central Co-Ordination Committee of Contractors (JKCCCC), saw presence of engineers from parts of the valley.
The contractors while decrying the official apathy said they have been pushed to the wall and were repenting their decision of joining NMS project.
The NMS project was sanctioned under National Agriculture Development Programme (NADP).
Costing Rs 400 crore, the aim was to improve the quality and production of saffron by means of providing quality seeds and uninterrupted water supply to the farmers.
“No work has been going on .We have stopped the work as we are not able to meet the expenses. We have nothing to spend. Where from will we arrange the wages of labourers?” said president, RaqibYousuf.
Yousuf said that since May, they have not received a single penny from the Agriculture Department.
“Around 13 contractors are associated with NMS.16 crores are lying with the department. The project is jointly looked after by the agriculture and mechanical engineering department. We fail to understand, as to why our payments have not been released. In centrally sponsored schemes, there is no scarcity of funds,” he said.
The contractors said that agriculture department Pulwama was to distribute quality seeds among the farmers while as mechanical engineering department was to lay pipes and dig the bore wells.
“We approached both the departments. We have been receiving assurances only. We appeal the governor administration to look into our issue, direct the concerned authorities to release our payments at an earliest,” an engineer associated with NMS said.
Deputy Commissioner concerned, G M Dar, said they were on the job.
“Hopefully they would get their payments released within a couple of days,” he said.