OPINION

Contractors’ party?

The collapse of a section of Doukissis Plakentias Street in Halandri due to metro works earlier this week violently jolted us back to everyday life following a few days of respite over the holidays – a reality of hassled city-dwellers, money-grabbing contractors, and the impunity of ostensibly «competent» officials who supposedly oversee the contractors handling state construction projects. Over the last few months, as the deadline for the completion of Olympic projects looms ever closer, the strained patience of Athenians has given way to anger. When lives are put at risk due to poor construction or when the Kifissos River repeatedly overflows due to incorrect planning, various disturbing stories spread by the contractors and engineers themselves spring to mind. The main thing the contractors describe in detail is the state bonus they receive if they complete a project by its deadline. The bonus is huge, sometimes amounting to 20 percent of construction costs. This is how dozens of state functionaries get their «gratuities» because hardly any job gets done without an incentive, as we all know. Recently the European Union berated Greece for the high cost of its public works projects which serve to line the pockets of contractors as well as an entire parasitic system. But the contractors’ party continues! And everybody wins, apart from the State and «healthy competition.»