As public money sinks in sunken road,who is to blame?

As public money continues to be pumped into the recarpeting of a nearly 2-kilometre long stretch of the Sector 5 and 8 dividing road (Vigyan Path),sheer lack of accountability has started surfacing.

Written by Varinder Bhatia | Chandigarh | Published:March 26, 2009 1:25 am

Administration starts recarpeting,second time in three years

As public money continues to be pumped into the recarpeting of a nearly 2-kilometre long stretch of the Sector 5 and 8 dividing road (Vigyan Path),sheer lack of accountability has started surfacing. The road is being recarpeted for the second time in the last three years,first in 2007 and now in 2009.

While the UT Administration has now started the repair work at the road to ‘rectify its alignment’,the concerned officials continue to evade any action against them for ‘dereliction of duty’.

The condition of the sunken road,merely 200 metres away from the UT Administrator’s home,was reported by Newsline on March 31 last year. Based on the news report,an inquiry was initiated and certain inspections were conducted by the city administration,the finding of which is still awaited.

The minutes of a high-level meeting held recently (a copy of which is with the Chandigarh Newsline) clearly instruct the UT Chief Engineer and Municipal Corporation Chief Engineer to fix responsibility and take ‘action’ against the officers guilty of ‘dereliction of duty’. The said action was scheduled to be reported to the highest level in the administration in the next meeting on April 3.

The concerned agencies,including the Administration and the municipal corporation,are meanwhile engaged in passing the buck.

Chief Engineer,Municipal Corporation,S K Bansal said,“The Administration was inquiring into the matter. They have even got certain inspections done from the Punjab Engineering College. The reasons for sinking of road on one side are not yet known as there are no cracks visible on the road. While there could be other factors,all that is not yet known to us.”

Bansal added: “We sent a reminder to UT Chief Engineer Krishanjeet Singh last week as well to fix responsibility of the concerned officials,but have not received any reply yet.”

On the other hand,UT Chief Engineer Krishanjeet Singh said,“I don’t have any idea about the ongoing inquiry. The issue cropped up during the tenure of former chief engineer S K Jaitley. I am not aware of any such reminders sent by the Municipal Corporation Chief Engineer.”

The road,which was carpeted in 2007,sank on one side within a year. Motorists driving from Punjab Raj Bhawan towards the Punjab Engineering College are forced to drive either in the middle of the road or bear an inclined drive. Neither the UT Administration nor the Municipal Corporation has,however,bothered to blacklist the contractor responsible for the shoddy job.

Unanswered questions

* How could such a long stretch of road sink on one side?

* Who is responsible for wasting so much public money involved in recarpeting the road twice in three years?

* Why hasn’t the Administration fixed responsibility of the concerned officers?

* Why hasn’t any action been taken against the contractor entrusted with the task of recarpeting the road in 2007?

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