Ahmedabad metro project vendors agitate against non-payment of Rs 70 cr dues

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Updated: Mar 29 2014, 23:55pm hrs
MAhmedabad metro project vendors claim that their last payment was made in July 2013. PTI
Protesting against non-payment of dues of about Rs 70 crore, over 60 vendors associated with the Ahmedabad metro project are sitting on a 'dharna' in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat. These vendors claim that they have not been paid by their dues since last six months.

"We had executed work costing about Rs 110 crore for the metro project between May-July 2013. This work largely involved supplying earth-filling material. So far, we have been paid only Rs 40 crore. The last payment was made in July 2013. This non-payment of dues is affected about 60 vendors and 1200 families associated with them," said Jatin Bhayani, chairman of MEGA Vendor Welfare Association which was formed recently around October 2013.

"The purchase orders for the work we executed were given when Sanjay Gupta was at the helm of MEGA (Metro-Link Express for Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad---- a special purpose vehicle formed by the Gujarat government that is in-charge of executing the project). After Gupta resigned, a new management took over in September 2013, and our money has been pending since then," Bhayani said on Saturday.

The vendor claimed that the earth-filling material that was supplied to MEGA was for Koba and nearby areas. "These areas now do not fall on the metro route as MEGA has redrawn the route-map after the new management took over," Bhayani said adding that civil contractors, transporters, equipment and machinery suppliers and the workers associated with them were all part of the on-going demonstration against the state-government run company.

"When the new management took over, they even demanded a discount of 20 percent on our past bills. We even agreed for that and generated fresh invoices. However, they have not yet paid our dues in spite of our repeated requests," he added.

The MEGA Vendor Welfare Association has also wrote a letter to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in this regard on March 11, 2014. However, the members of the association claim that no concrete action has been taken so far.

When contacted on the issue, the present director and vice-chairman of MEGA, IP Gautam said, "We have found a lot of discrepancies when we scrutinised the bills and the works that were executed by these vendors. A technical team has been looking in to this and we will be releasing payments as and when we complete the scrutiny."

"We have been holding regular meetings with the association members and we have also sought more time as the scrutiny is taking time. But, they want us to release payments immediately," he added.