As per rules, every road that is laid afresh or recarpeted has to be inspected by officials of the engineering wing. While contractors get the tenders for recarpeting, the onus of ensuring that their work conforms to the specified standards lies on the engineers of the Municipal Corporation’s Building and Roads wing.
A retired chief engineer said right from Junior Engineer to the Executive Engineer, they are supposed to make repeated checks at the site to ensure that the work is being carried out as per the detailed notice inviting tender. As former UT chief engineer, S K Chadha put it, “An engineer is the virtual owner of the road.”
An engineer, who is designated as the road incharge, has to ensure that the material used for recarpeting is at the right temperature (130 degrees C to 140 degrees C) and the weather in which this exercise is undertaken is conducive to recarpeting. Newsline found that in many parts of the city, roads were being recarpeted even when the pre-monsoon showers had started. Later, the work was halted midway. But the question is why was it started in the first place? Why was it not done when the weather was dry and sunny? As per the rule book, it is the cumulative responsibility of the Junior Engineer, Sub-Divisional Engineer and Executive Engineer to ensure that if the work is not up to the mark, it is rejected and done afresh.
But if you go by the craters on the arterial road of Madhya Marg that continue to cry for repair, you may come to believe that the engineering wing has no technical knowledge about roads.
“It is the duty of the engineer to test the temperature at the spot before laying the material. He has to ensure that the gravel, sand, pebbles and bitumen are mixed in the right proportion and that the mixture is spread at the right temperature so that it bonds well. He is also required to ensure that there are no indentations on the road after the roller is used, and the levelling is correct. It is a technical and painstaking process but it ensures smooth and long-lasting roads,” said former chief engineer KB Sharma.
Sharma said it is the engineer’s duty to make sure no water collects at the edges because the moment water starts accumulating on the road, it will begin to erode as water is an arch-enemy of the bitumen.
He added, “To prevent this, the engineer in charge must ensure that kerbs and channels are laid well to drain out water even before starting the repair work on the road. Kerbs and channels have to be put along the edges so that water does not accumulate there and ruin the road. Also, he has to plug any leaks in the water and sewer pipelines going beneath the roads because that will lead to potholes and the money spent on recarpeting will go waste.”