Wasting public money on renovating and re-carpeting roads in monsoons, the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation was caught on the wrong foot on Monday as it started raining while re-carpeting of roads was in progress in Model Town area near Singh Sabha gurdwara.
However, the MC did not stop the work and the contractor continued to spread bitumen on wet and slippery roads amid rain.
It all happened in the presence of MC superintendent Naveen Malhotra, who although belongs to tehbazaari branch, did not stop the contractor from spreading bitumen as it continued to rain.
A city resident, Arvind Sharma, who was present on the spot, said, “I told Malhotra to stop the contractor but he told me it is not his department and I should complain to the department concerned. Then I called up junior engineer Harvinder Singh who said that the contractor was already there with equipment and thus work cannot be called off. I also complained to MC commissioner but he did not respond.”
JE Harvinder Singh and MC commissioner Pradeep Aggarwal did not respond to phone calls. Dharam Singh, superintending engineer (buildings and roads), gave a weird reply that “MC was not expecting rain in July”.
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“It did not rain much this monsoon so we were not expecting rain on Monday. But I told them to stop work immediately,” he said. “It is correct that road construction is not allowed in July and August.”
Kamaljeet Soi, running NGO Raahat on road safety and managing director of Traffic Management Services based in the UK, said, “It is a complete eyewash by MC. They are deliberately doing this so that monsoons can be blamed in future for poor roads. It takes minimum 30 dry days for bitumen to stick to surface and it cannot hold water. Bitumen spread on wet roads can never stick permanently.”