Contractors threaten to stop civil work over pending bills

A section of contractors has threatened to stop all on-going civil works in the city if the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) does not clear their pending bills within seven days.

However, the cash-strapped civic body seems unfazed by the threat.

Civic Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said that the BBMP can make payments only when its financial condition improves.

K.T. Manjunath, president of the BBMP Karyanirata Guttigedarara Sangha, claimed that bills amounting to ₹2,500 crore are pending. “Over the past three months, no bill has been cleared. The BBMP is using the pandemic as a ruse to delay payments,” he alleged.

Contractors are currently carrying out civil works, such as repair and strengthening of drains, parks, footpaths and roads, in various wards worth nearly ₹6,000 crore.

Mr. Manjunath said, “The civic body has been able to collect nearly ₹2,000 crore from citizens as property tax. Why can’t the money be used to clear pending bills?”

However, contractors belonging to another association said they did not support the Sangha. K. Ambikapathy, president of the BBMP Contractors’ Association, said that they have had discussions with both Administrator Gaurav Gupta and Mr. Prasad.

“Both assured that bills for works taken up under the Nava Nagarothana scheme, 14th Finance Commission and State Finance Commission will be cleared from Thursday,” he said and added that some issues with regard to clearing bills were the result of violation of rules by the office of the chief accounts officer (CAO).

Recently, the CAO R. Govindraj was repatriated on charges of dereliction of duty and violation of rules in clearing bills of contractors. The office of the CAO was sealed and an inquiry is under way.

Mr. Prasad told The Hindu that bills for works taken up under various schemes will be cleared with funds from the State

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US pending home sales leap to record as housing-market surge continues

April Home Sales Rise As Buyers Take Advantage Of Expiring Gov't Tax Credit
A ‘sale pending’ sign is displayed in front of a home for sale May 24, 2010 in San Rafael, California. Government incentives and low mortgage rates helped April home sales surge 7.6 percent in April, the biggest gain in five months.

  • The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index surged 8.8% last month to an all-time high of 132.8, signaling the US housing market’s rally continued into the fall.
  • Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected an increase of 3.1%.
  • The reading is the fourth-straight climb for the index. All four major US regions notched growth in August, with the West seeing the biggest improvement.
  • The pace of home sales rocketed through the summer as Americans leveraged record-low mortgage rates. The sector has served as a rare bright spot in the pandemic-rattled economy.
  • Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.

Record-low mortgage rates drove home sales contracts higher in August as the US housing boom showed no signs of stopping.

The National Association of Realtors’ Pending Home Sales Index soared 8.8% last month to a record high of 132.8, according to data published Wednesday. The reading marks a fourth-straight monthly increase for the index, and all four of the major US regions posted growth through the end of summer.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg expected a jump of 3.1%.

Growth from July to August was sharpest in the West, with the region’s pending sales climbing 13.1%. Nationwide contract signings surged 24.2% year-over-year, NAR added.

Read more: BANK OF AMERICA: Buy these 29 high-quality value stocks primed to cash in on the economic recovery

“Tremendously low mortgage rates have again helped pending home sales climb in August,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, said in a statement.

He continued: “While I did very much expect the housing

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U.S. pending home sales race to record high in August

FILE PHOTO: A home for sale sign hangs in front of a house in Oakton, on the day the National Association of Realtors issues its Pending Home Sales for February report, in Virginia March 27, 2014. REUTERS/Larry Downing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Contracts to buy U.S. previously owned homes surged to a record high in August, suggesting housing market activity was gathering speed amid record-low mortgage rates.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday its Pending Home Sales Index, based on contracts signed last month, jumped 8.8% to an all-time high of 132.8 last month. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast pending home contracts, which become sales after a month or two, rising 3.4% in August.

Pending home sales increased 24.2% from a year ago. The housing market has pressed ahead even as the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown millions out of work. The unemployment burden has fallen disproportionately on low-wage earners in the services industry, who tend to be young.

There has been a surge in demand for housing in suburbs and low-density areas as Americans seek spacious accommodation in the new work-from-home era.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is averaging below 3%, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Reports this month showed a surge in homebuilder confidence in September, and an acceleration in single-family home construction and sales of both new and previously owned homes in August.

Last month, pending home sales rose in all four regions.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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