THREE NEW mobile road quality testing machines which were purchased at a whopping price of over Rs 30 lakh were found junked and thrown in a corner of the basement of the civic body’s building in Sector 17 by Chandigarh Newsline. Interestingly, it was found that instead of the Tata Ace vehicle which was approved by the House to mount these machines on, the civic officials instead purchased a Bolero for a Sub Divisional Officer’s convenience.
These machines were purchased in 2016 to ensure that no substandard material is used wherever new roads are made because the testing of the material is done at the spot itself and results are also out there at the spot. Also, these machines were to ensure that key specifications in the road work are complied with. However, the corporation officials found it wiser to dump these for reasons best known to them.
The machines were meant to check the bitumen content, thickness, density, gradation sieve and temperature measurement during the making of new roads. These are the key specifications which have to be checked to ensure proper life of the road.
Chandigarh Newsline highlighted how Rs 50.73 crore that has been spent on road recarpeting has literally gone down the drain. Newsline also took a round of the roads with former chief engineer who found road construction defects. City roads are ailing with potholes, surprisingly even those which are newly recarpeted.
When BJP councillor Arun Sood was contacted by Newsline as these portable machines were purchased during his tenure as mayor in 2016, he immediately called the officers of engineering wing to reach the basement of the building. Sood reached there and questioned them as to why these had been dumped and not being put to use when they are completely functional. Executive engineer Ajay Garg reached the spot with an SDO. The SDO was asked to remove the heaps of dust from those machines and make them functional.
The councillor then asked the officials where the vehicle, Tata Ace, was on which these machines had to be mounted. The machines are portable and can be carried to the spot but to facilitate the road quality testing further, this vehicle was approved by the House.
“This is illegal. You mislead the House and take approval for a vehicle for this machine and later you illegally take a Bolero instead for SDO’s convenience, that too without asking,” Sood told the executive engineer. He added, “I will raise this issue in the general house meeting. How can they do it?”
The councillor then went to the office of Superintending Engineer (B and R) Sanjay Arora where the latter assured him to make these junked machines functional and use them in the road recarpeting. Arora told the councillor that he had already ordered his staff a day ago, at a meeting of engineering officials, to use these machines. However, they were still dumped there when Newsline visited.
“It is surprising that even after purchasing such machines, terms and conditions of DNITs of road recarpeting were not amended and they were paying one per cent of the tender amount to private consultant for road testing,” Sood said. “Why can’t they use these machines for road testing when government funds have been spent?”
Samples found dumped
Newsline also found dumped in the basement several samples sent to the civic body for road testing. These samples have been lying there without being tested.