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Maharashtra: State invokes ‘force majeure’ to consider pandemic natural disaster, grant 6-month extension to contractors

The state Cabinet also discussed the issue of inflated electricity bills. “A decision to provide relief to the lakhs of the household consumers will be taken in the next Cabinet meeting,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 30, 2020 2:09:31 am
Ajit Pawar, maharashtra coronavirus, maharashtra covid cases, maharashtra force majeure, maharashtra decleares covid as natural disaster, maharashtra work extension, indian express news Ajit Pawar. (File)

The state Cabinet on Wednesday has decided to invoke the “force majeure” clause to consider the Covid-19 pandemic as a natural disaster and grant a six-month extension to contractors, engaged in government works, for completion of the works. The move, in line with the Centre, seeks to address the financial issues facing the contractors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Officials said security deposit, deducted from a contractor’s current bills, would be given an extension for deduction or the percentage of the amount would be reduced.

For the bigger projects, which are on the build, operate and transfer basis or engineering, procurement and construction basis, the 50 per cent amount of the performance security would be returned to the contractor if the 50 per cent work is completed, officials said. The guidelines would be applicable on all the government corporations and the local bodies, officials added.

The state Cabinet also discussed the issue of inflated electricity bills. “A decision to provide relief to the lakhs of the household consumers will be taken in the next Cabinet meeting,” Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said.

Meanwhile, new sops were also announced to push investments agro- and food-processing businesses. Anticipating agriculture to absorb a huge amount of labour, the state Cabinet has increased interest promotion subsidies for large and mega investments in the sector under its industrial promotion policy.

Eligible units, officials said, would now be available for 50 to 100 per cent subsidies on state GST payable, which would depend on the plant’s location, the quantum of investment and the employment generated. Eligible units in backward areas of Vidarbha, Marathwada, North Maharashtra and Konkan would be eligible for 100 per cent tax subsidy, while those in the developed industrial district would get 50 per subsidy.

The Cabinet also approved a Rs 1,000-crore project in tie-up with the Asian Development Bank, for the promotion of horticulture. The bank will fund 70 per cent of the project.

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