Centre must clear pending dues to prevent stalling of major defence projects: MESBAI
New Delhi : Military Engineer Services (MES) Builder Association of India (BAI) representing more than 7500 Members who render services and execute Civil Construction Works to the ARMED FORCES once again raised the issue of pending dues.
The MESBAI has cautioned that if contractors' dues are not paid soon, then thousands of people, working at various construction sites across India, will be rendered unemployed and defence projects and maintenance works for infrastructure services will be stopped on account of which national security might be at risk.
MESBAI have been facing the problem of Non-Payment of their legitimate dues for the last three years. They have been making constant efforts to draw the attention of the government on this issue. Presently, MES BAI has 73 branches across India. It is the only association which has been recognized by the Ministry of Defence.
Members of MES BAI looks after the basic infrastructure requirements of all the three wings of Armed Forces and it even takes care of their maintenance and operation. It not only constructs the buildings for the Armed Forces but also builds runways for them.
MESBAI contractors supply trusted and trained work-force to the Military Engineer Services to keep operational the basic infrastructure facilities of Armed Forces. The members MES BAI observed tools down strike on 29th & 30th October 2018. However, the proposed strike was called off after getting assurance from the Hon’ble Defence Minister, Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman to release funds before Deepawali Festival, but a paltry amount of Rs. 250 Crore only was released against the total liabilities of (approx.) Rs.1600 Crore by the Ministry of Defence. Since then no further funds have been released till date. Therefore, the liability is increasing day-by-day and the same has shot up from (approx.) Rs.1600 Crore to Rs. 2000 Crore (approx.) at present.
The Engineer-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Minister of State for Defence, Defence Minister and PMO have been apprised of the situation. However, the government has not provided any relief till date.
The members of Association also had observed tools down strike on 3rd & 4th December, 2018. “Due to scarcity of the funds, our members are paying to their workers by taking loans and they also buying materials from the market on credit by paying higher cost to keep continue the work. If the amount of Rs. 2000 Crore is not released soon and the payment is made to the contractors, then they will be compelled to stop all the ongoing Construction Works, Maintenance and Operation Works for all the wings of Armed Forces. If Contractors are not paid soon, thousands of construction workers and due to this the basic infrastructure of Armed Forces will be badly affected. The situation, at present, is so severe that if Contractors due payments are not released immediately, then survival of their families as well as families of their employed staff and labourers will be at stake,” said Parveen Mahana, President MESBAI.
The MESBAI claims outstanding liability of the government towards Contractors’ dues for their ongoing project works, maintenance and operation works for Armed Forces infrastructure is more than Rs. 2000 Crore and is likely to soar till the end of this financial year.
The Association has demanded from the Ministry of Defence to clear the outstanding payment of Crores of Rupees due to the Contractors against the services rendered by them for the last year once for all to provide immediate relief to contractors and avoid this recurring problem years after years.