Contractors a distinct sector of the society which makes its direct contribution to economic growth and development like all the other sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and services. It also provides the basis upon which the other sectors can grow, by constructing the physical facilities required for the production and distribution of goods and services.
The contractors and their construction play an important role in employment-generation potential in the form of laboures, supervisors, computer operators, managers etc which lessen the burden of unemployment on Govt.
This construction industry also has potential for generating activity and employment in other sectors of the economy such as manufacturing, transport, commerce and financial services owing to its interlinkages to other sectors.
The construction industry need equipments and technological items, are purchased from other sectors such as manufacturing factories, companies, industries etc thus supporting their capital potential as well.
The particular importance of the contractor’s role is cited in progress and development of the country , ensuring that they are available in, or able to move to, all parts of the country where development projects would be required.
National and state Bank’s do support for construction industry observed that these banks also remain in exercise ,thus seriously affecting the efficiency of investments and the pace of economic development.
As the Banks are also concerned with the quality and efficiency of the contractors and finance them only on their enormous potential of the construcion and development.
So contractor-development programmes and schemes optimize job creation opportunities for unemployment youth, encourage the creation and sustainability of small-scale enterprises, help in fulfilling the country’s projected construction needs and also enhance the benefits accruing to the community through their involvement in construction.
Thus, a virtuous cyclical link between contractor and national development can be envisaged.Apart from this gigantic and productive works from contractors side, they also help in shaping the country in it’s economy and development way.
In kashmir the primary focus of these contractors are also on the progress and development but investigations and researchs identify different challenges they face here.
Biggest problem the contractors face that state government fails to release pending bills of different construcion works through departments like PMGSY R&B, MGNREGA etc . The contractor’s body has threatened several times to boycott all developmental works if authorities fail to clear their liabilities. Also
the private contractors whose services are hired by the government to undertake development activities, state that they have been denied payment of works they had carried so far.
As per the officials, estimated over 3000 kilometers of roads were macadamized since few years while as development of hundreds of kilometers of roads and pavements were also undertaken along with construction of drainage network through out kashmir but they have been denied payments of the work done which has put them in verge of bankruptcy ,others have sold their precious properties, few of them got psychologically agonised resulted that their wives have taken divorce from them over this dejected situation.
Despite hunger strikes and road blocks Government has made any due response and they make habit of making contractors suffer. It is happening every year that their bills are not paid on time, has aggravated their problems.
Many contractors are facing social problems as they had borrowed money from their relatives or friends whom now they are unable to pay due to the non-payment of bills by the government and this has started scuffle between relatives and friends that worsen the situation in deep way.
In addition to their agony that when ever the higher officials are going to inspect the contractor’s work if it is found not arranging in better feast from contractor’s side then the higher officials taking any small unintentionally mistake in the construction a mark revenge seize all his pending documentary or billing processes.
Not only these grumbles vow bitterness in their work but corruption has seriously adds misery to the contractors . Corruption ironically a necessary evil and has got a good name ” Chai” in bad ways. It is one of the major impediment to the construction and development. Contractors have heaps of documents to get complete in different departments then only it is possible for them to get pending bills but from gate keeper to high official every one become opportunistic to take bribe openly, even it has been done in agreed way among different employees of the department. Contractors bound in chains don’t take much time in fear of losing huge money invested giving bribe on spot.
Government policies can reduce corruption increasing the benefits of being honest, increasing the probability of detection and punishment, and increasing the penalties levied on those caught but these policies don’t become active at ground level. If someone tries to keep heart full of honesty but other employees hastily removing nip in the bud by giving illegally a bad name.
Implementation of strict laws laws and the introduction of more transparency, fairness of punishment, procedural compliance and contractual compliance can play a key role in removing this antisocial element and also setup a proper system to do their documentary processes without any scornfull act.
As an individual one must develop ethical values , conscientious, fear of Allah and other legitimate ways along these corruption and problems can be eradicated at ground level but prior if Government can take best policies and stringent laws implemented so that these contractors can do their work smoothly for construction and development of kashmir.
Sheikh Arshid Ahmad
Note:- That the article is authors own kashmir Crown does not necessarily agree with the opinions.