Mumbai: Seeking protection from threats, extortion calls and hooliganism arising out of political rivalry, two organisations of state government-approved contractors and engineers engaged in various developmental projects have written a joint letter to the Maharashtra Chief Minister and the two Deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar, demanding a law to protect them at work sites. They have threatened to stop work from February-end if measures were not taken for their protection.
In their letter dated February 3, the two organisations — Maharashtra State Contractors Association (MSCA) and State Engineers Association (SEA) — urged the Maharashtra Government to enact a legislation by the end of February to safeguard them against alleged threats, extortion attempts and job interruptions stemming from political disputes, failing which they may halt work on various projects.
The letter claimed, “The rival political groups in every district use force to stop the ongoing work, including the use of physical violence and extortion from contractors. This is taking place in every district of the state. If no solution is found to this challenge, we will not continue our work from February-end,” the associations said in the latter.
The ruling MLAs, MPs and other elected representatives have managed to get sanction for developmental works of huge amounts in the State. While executing it, political groups who are in the opposition are ensuring that the works are stopped, they claimed.
“To do this, these groups are ganging up against the contractors and labourers, and abusing as well as beating them to stop the work,” the letter alleged.
Milind Bhosle, President of both the associations, said the government has sanctioned developmental works in various departments and political rivalry is causing a major damage and delay to the execution of these projects.
“The State Government has issued work orders to the tune of Rs 1 lakh crore, but the contractors at the local level are facing problems, like some political groups either asking us to stop the work using force or causing hurdles in completion,” he claimed.
“These groups cannot be controlled by government officials. Increased instances of threatening with physical violence; beating up the contractor if they registered an opposition and dictating their own orders are growing across the state. These groups are working in an identical manner all over, where they file written complaints against the contractor and later demand money,” the letter dated February 3 said.
It said that the contractors were suffering silently because of the work they have taken and are bound to complete it. “The ruling MLAs, MPs and other elected representatives have managed to get sanction for huge amounts of developmental works in the state. While executing it, political groups who are in the Opposition are ensuring that the works are stopped. To do this, these groups are ganging up against the contractors and the labourers, and abusing as well as beating them to stop the work,” it said.