Military Engineer Services (MES) Builder Associaton of India (MESBAI) has decided to call off its strike proposed for October 29 and 30 after assurance from Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. A delegation of MESBAI met with the Defence Minister to raise the issue of non-clearance of pending dues worth Rs 1600 crores, got the assurance that the government will soon release partial funds for so that the construction works at the various buildings of Ministry of Defence could continue. The Defence Minister has also advised the delegation to cancel their tool down strike.
The association has claimed that the construction, maintenance, and renovation work at various defence buildings will be stopped due to non-clearance of dues and lakhs of construction workers will get unemployed if the contractors are not paid.
In the last three-years, MESBAI has faced a lot of problem due to non-clearance of dues. At the moment, MESBAI has 73 branches across India.
MES is the only association which has been recognized by the Defence Ministry. MESBAI looks after the basic constructional requirements of all the three wings of Defence Services and it even takes care of their maintenance and renovation. It not just constructs the buildings for the security forces but also builds runways.
MESBAI supplies trusted and trained workforce to the Military Engineering Services and also develops the furniture for the security forces. The MES builder Association of India has not been paid for a long time, thus it has become very difficult for their employees to raise their family.
Parveen Mahana, President MES Builders Association of India, “Our delegation met with the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday. The Union Minister has assured us that the partial funds will be released immediately and asked the association to cancel the tool down strike. Hence, after the assurances from the government, we have decided to call off the strike.”
Balbir Singh Vij, the Honorary General Secretary MESBAI, said, “Our hopes have been reignited after the assurances of the honourable Raksha Mantri. We now hope that the contractors and labourers, falling under the association, will not face the financial trouble during this festive season. The members of the association have faced a lot of trouble due to non-payment for the last three years. Payments in crores have not been paid to several builders. The builders are yet to recover from the jolts of note-ban and GST, and the non-payment of funds is not less than financial emergency to them. We have been working day in and out to construct the defence buildings, they are spending money from their own pockets, but they can’t work for long if such issues persist.”
A contractor working under the builder association said, “If the pending money isn’t disbursed, then lakhs of workers will lose their employment and various construction works will be stalled. The Defence Minister’s assurance of making partial payment before Diwali has raised our hopes and the workers’ families would be able to celebrate the festival of lights.
More than 20 thousand contractors involved in the construction of various defence buildings in the country have formed this association. Several buildings in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab are being constructed by MES.