CHITRAL: Mughal Baz Khan, chairman of Chitral chapter of Contractors Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has demanded of the chief minister and the accountant general to take action against the district accounts officer for allegedly withholding the payments of contractors without any reason.

Talking to mediapersons here on Wednesday, he alleged that soon after taking charge of the office, the accounts officer was openly demanding illegal gratification from contractors to get their payments cleared.

Mr Baz said that the official withheld the bills for months despite the fact that they fulfilled all the formalities.

“He does not clear the bills unless we grease his palms,’’ he alleged.

He said that the contractors in Chitral were already in distress due to a number of reasons specific to them which included the limited working season of five months due to harsh weather and the paucity of funds.

He said that the authoritarian attitude of the official had aggravated their problems.

He said that the inordinate delay in payment of bills had not only put the contractors in distress but had also severely affected the daily wagers who worked with the contractors.

Citing examples of the coercing tactics on part of district accounts officer, Mr Baz said that different contractors supplied emergency items and firewood to the hospitals and dispensaries in Chitral at the peril of their lives facing the threat of coronavirus but their bills had been pending with the official since April 20.

He regretted that the citizen portal of the prime minister was approached with the grievance, but to no avail, saying that the contractors continued to be subjected to harsh tactics.

He questioned the government’s claim of purging the departments of corruption.

Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2020

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