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Contractors lock Srinagar engineering complex again, seek written assurance

Top officials and other employees working in different government departments at engineering complex Rajbagh Wednesday faced ‘embarrassment’ after they were ‘forced’ to wind up the official duties and to come out from engineering complex Rajbagh as a group of protesting contractors padlocked the main gate.
The engineering complex had re-opened after 15-days on Wednesday as contractors had padlocked it earlier on 27 February 2018, demanding roll back of Pay and Accounts Office (PAO) System and clearance of pending liabilities.
The group of contractors led by its president Ghulam Jeelani Purza had announced calling off strike partially after finance minister Syed Altaf Bukhari on Tuesday ordered the deferment of the new system till March 2018.
On Wednesday morning, the top officials and other employees working in Irrigation and Flood Control department, Public Health Engineering department and Roads and Buildings department arrived to re-join their duties after fifteen days.
Chiefs of three important departments comprising R&B , PHE and Irrigation and Flood control function from this engineering complex.
It was around 11 O’ Clock in morning when another faction of contractors led by Farooq Ahmad Dar appeared at the complex and padlocked it again.
“Yes, we had arrived in the office. However, the protestors padlocked the main gate and asked us to leave,” said one of the top officials.
Farooq Ahmad Dar  that they were satisfied by the announcement made by the finance minister Syed Altaf Bukhari. “We welcome Finance Minister’s announcement about deferment of PAO system. However, we want in writing that our all liabilities pending with government will not come under the purview of PAO as and when implemented,” he said.
He said that “We know it isn’t possible for government to clear entire pending liability of contractors by 31 March 2018. So, if the PAO system is implemented from 1 April 2018, we must have assurance in writing that our pending liabilities will not be governed under this system.”
On being told that Bukhari has assured that implementation of this new system would be decided on the readiness of the stakeholders as well as review of the foolproof technical platform for the operation of the system, he said: “We have complete faith on his assurance. We just want the assurance in writing.”

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