Guwahati, Aug 26: In wake of a debt-ridden BJP leader-cum-contractor reportedly committing suicide earlier this week as his outstanding payments were not released by the Assam government, the opposition Congress claimed that the unpaid dues of contractors has severely hit the development works in the state.
Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia said that till March, the unpaid amount to contractors stood at around Rs 13,000 crore, affecting the development works as the contractors are frustrated.
"However, it has emerged that some contractors close to ministers and MLAs received payments without completing governmental works and projects. A large number of contractors under the PWD, Irrigation, Guwahati Development Department, National Health Mission and other departments are yet to receive their payments despite completing their allotted works," Saikia told the media.
The Congress leader said that in 2020-21, work orders were issued with instructions to complete them before March 31, in view of the March-April Assembly elections and the contractors had abided by the order and completed their works before the stipulated time but their bills have still remained unpaid by the government.
Saikia said that while the BJP government has been claiming that the state's financial situation is fine but it is not releasing the huge outstanding payments to the contractors. Referring to the suicide of the debt-ridden BJP leader-cum-contractor Mithuranjan Das in Lakhimpur district on Monday, he said that from the suicide note left by the contractor, it is clear that he took this extreme step due to financial trouble arising from non-payment of bill amounting to Rs 17 lakh by the NHM and lakhs more due from other departments.
"This has happened due to the failure of the state government. The government should take steps for payment of contractors' dues so that another such tragic incident does not occur in the state," Saikia said.
The police said that Das allegedly committed suicide and in his three-page suicide note, explained his economic crisis, saying that he took money as loan from various people to carry out various contractual and supply works for the government.
"The suicide note accused the Assam government and said that lakhs of rupees were payable to him in connection with the works he executed since last year," a police officer said.
Das had also supplied food to the Covid care centres for which he reportedly did not receive due payments. Payments for many large contracts executed by the BJP leader-cum-contractor remained unpaid, the police said quoting his family members.