IT’S RAINING rumble strips on Panchkula roads. The Panchkula Municipal Corporation’s sudden enthusiasm for the yellow and black speed breakers in the city has residents of many sectors up in arms against the mindless installation of the strips, even at places where they are not required.
Over a stretch of 200 metres in Sector 7, there are eight such speed breakers. Over 40 rumble strips have been installed in the internal lanes of the sector.
Tarsem Garg, president of Resident Welfare Association in Sector 7, said, “These strips have been installed mindlessly. A speedbreaker outside a school or a hospital is justified but just installing such eight to ten such strips on small stretches in the internal lanes is an act of stupidity. It is just a money-minting project. Who was asked here before putting people to inconvenience? The MC may show us just five such written requests from our sector.”
As per details accessed by CNL, each strip is of 7 metres width and a total of 325 metres of strips have been installed in Sector 7 and Sector 8 each. That works out to about 90 rumble strips in both the sectors put together. The per metre cost is about Rs 300, and the cost of 650 metres is about Rs 2 lakh in both the sectors.
Local councillor C B Goel said that a high-level inquiry be conducted as to who was the person who was given the contract to install so many strips in each sector and the cost factor involved.
CNL has learnt that no tender was called for the installation of such strips. Respective junior engineers gave the works to different contractors.
Goel said that initially the corporation had set up speed breakers in front of hospitals and schools, which he had appreciated in writing. “The demand for speed breakers wasn’t this much that they have been provided in so much excess. I told them to install speed breakers at blind cuts, schools or temples and appreciated them for doing that but not that they put up three-four in every small lane which is spread across a 50 metre,” he said.
In certain localities of sectors 4,12, 20 and 21, a total of 80 rumble strips have been installed. Local municipal engineer Bhupesh said that they have stopped the work of installing any more on the complaints of people.
Mayor Upinder Ahluwalia has asked the officials to uproot a few strips outside a lane in Sector 20 after she got complaints from residents. She told the ME “not to make it a money minting project”, sources privy to the conversation said.
In a small residential lane of MDC Sector 5, as many as 17 rumble strips have been installed.
President of RWA MDC Sector 5, Panchkula, Subhash Sachdeva said, “Log boht zada pareshan ho rahe hain. Boht bure jhatke lagte hain old age ke log hain kayi….Kayi two-wheeler wale to gir bhi chuke….yahan to zarurat bhi nahi thi fir bhi itne laga diye….We want them to be immediately removed. It is a wastage of money as well. Four were sufficient in the entire sector.”
Kamaljeet, whose wife is five-month pregnant, told Chandigarh Newsline, “These strips are really risky. Sometimes during night, you don’t get to know and you bump into it. I have to be extremely careful about my wife.” Local councillor Kuljeet Waraich said that she never asked the municipal engineers to install so many strips and will ask them to remove them.
On the road in front of Sector 6 general hospital, where two speed breakers were sufficient, as many as five rumble strips have been installed. The internal lanes have two to three each such strips here.
Rajesh Kathpalia, a resident of Sector 21, who retired from power department, had given a written request to the corporation to install speed breakers to curb rash driving on his street. “Yes, I had written a letter but rather than making it convenient for people, they have inconvenienced everybody. Moreover, the cemented speed breakers should be there and not such strips which trouble everybody.”
The president of Citizens Welfare Association, Swadesh Nayyar, said that they would be protesting outside MC office on Wednesday on the issue.
Municipal Commissioner Rajesh Jogpal, however, said that he had received letters from residents and councillors to install speed breakers. “These works have been done on the demand of RWA/MC’s/residents on their request and in the interest of road safety. There have been no complaints about them. The safety of the residents of Panchkula is our prime concern and we will keep on doing our work in public interest.” Jogpal showed Kathpalia’s request letter, Goel’s appreciation letter, a letter by RWA Sector 12 Rakesh Aggarwal and a letter from Swastik Vihar RWA.
However, president of Sector 12 RWA Rakesh Aggarwal said that under cover of a genuine request, the MC has been splurging public money on these strips. “I had asked for a breaker in front of house number 701 which was a crossing. They have not installed one there but at so many places where it wasn’t required.”
Asked why no tender was called, the commissioner said, “All financial procedures were followed. Our works are pre-audited.”
Questions raised on cat’s eye reflectors as well Mayor Upinder Ahluwalia has raised questions on the installation of cat’s eye reflectors on the main roads. “The reflectors need to be on the either side of the road but they have installed it in the middle lane as well and the distance between each reflector is really less. It is causing inconvenience to commuters. I told the commissioner and he said that these reflectors were looking nice on the road. But the fact is that no other MC, even in Chandigarh, has installed them,” she said.