Government works such as laying new roads and repairs to existing ones, the construction of new drains, the widening and desilting of existing ones ahead of monsoon is set to be impacted in Telangana. Owing to COVID-19 induced economic fallout, the Telangana state government has decided to tighten its belt on spending by not releasing funds to contractors. The state's Finance Department has reportedly been instructed to release funds only for salaries, pensions and emergency bills of the Health Department.
S Bhaskar Rao, President of the GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) Contractors Association, says over 1,000 contractors are yet to be paid since December for executing works undertaken on an emergency basis. â€śIf we work, we have to borrow money to complete the work. If we don't work due to the lack of payment, notices are issued against us. The situation is the same for contractors in irrigation and roads and buildings sectors -their payments are always delayed. The government must understand that during this pandemic time, the banks are unwilling to lend, where do we turn for capital if there are delays like this?â€ť he asks.
An estimated Rs 19,000 crore worth of bills from across state government departments are pending with the Finance Department, reported The Deccan Chronicle and Times of India on Monday. Verbal instructions were reportedly issued to not clear bills from departments other than the Health Department. All state government departments have been instructed to only prepare wage bills and keep remaining payments as pending.
Bills from the Irrigation Department amounting to Rs 14,000 crore, Roads and Buildings Rs 1200 crore, GHMC Rs 1000 crore, Panchayat Raj Rs 900 crore and Rs 800 crore due for Mission Bhagiratha works are pending. Payment of Rs 13,000 crore towards gram panchayats is also pending. Cheques issued for various government initiatives such as Palle Pragathi, Prakruthi Vanalu, Vaikunta Damas and Haritha Haram, have not been honoured.
With regard to the implementation of new pay scale revisions, the state government has already delayed raising the wages from April 1. The draft file on the new Pay Revision Commission (PRC) fitment was sent for the Chief Minister's approval in April.
The move is expected to impact payments to government employeeâ€™s General Provident Fund, medical reimbursement, and leave claims bills for government employees.
The office of the Finance Secretary was unresponsive. Other senior Finance Department officials refused to comment.