EVEN AS it is facing criticism over the poor state of roads in town, the Amreli municipality, on Friday, invited the public and mediapersons to witness the technical testing of an RCC (reinforced cement concrete) road constructed by the civic body. It announced that it will follow the same practice in other road projects as well.
Technicians drew samples of RCC from Jilla Panachayat Road in the presence of municipality president Jayantibhai Ranva, Amreli Shaher Vikas Samiti president PP Sojitra, municipality chief officer LG Hun, officers of district administration, lecturers of the civil engineering department of Dr Jivraj Mehta Polytechnic, and the public. Civic officers said samples were drawn from three spots suggested by the public.
As part of the exercise, technicians cut cross-sections of the RCC road from three places. Civic officers said the test was meant to test two parameters, the thickness of the RCC layer and its ability to sustain pressure. The Jilla Panchayat Road, which begins from Nagnath Mahadev temple and ends at Mota Bus Station (GSRTC bus depot), is meant to be 15 cm thick and strong enough to sustain 200 kg/sq cm pressure. The first part of the test was deemed successful as all samples were found to be over 17 cm thick.
“For the strength testing, we have sent the samples to a government-approved local laboratory for curating for 24 hours. On Saturday, we shall test strength the samples at the same place from where they have been collected, in the presence of public and media,” Hasmukhrai Khorasia, Chief Engineer of Amreli municipality said.
Khoarsia said that the Jilla Panchayat road section is 700 metres long, eight metres wide and has been constructed at a cost of Rs 55 lakh. Work began mid-October last year and was completed on December 31. The engineer said there are service ducts on either side of the road, as well as two-metres-wide paving block sections across the road at every 30 metres, so that it is not damaged for laying various utility lines. In 2015, work to lay underground drainage lines in the town began. The civic body said that it has plans to restore all roads by May this year.
The municipality is presently ruled by a group of Congress rebels supported by BJP. Paresh Dhanani, an MLA from Amreli constituency and Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, said Congress party’s efforts to involve public in public projects had forced the municipality to conduct the quality test in public. “Quality testing is a technical affair and is generally done by technicians and technical experts. If general public keeps vigil while work of a project is in progress, defects could be avoided and quality could be maintained. Thanks to the public awareness we have created, the municipality has been forced to conduct the quality test in public,” Dhanani told The Indian Express.
Incidentally, the municipality had issued a press release on Thursday, inviting prominent members of the public and media to witness the quality test on the RCC road.
The MLA conceded that road were in poor shape since 2015. “But we were helpless as roads cannot be relaid till the state government officially declared drainage line work over. Now that it is, work on seven main roads of the town is in progress. Work on 76 minor roads will begin after a litigation is settled,” he said.
Municipality president Jayanti Ranva said they had set an example for others. “Even if we tell contractors to work only as per specified norms, people would allege that testing is done behind closed doors and therefore quality is not good. To prevent any whiff of corruption, we got the test done in public,” Ranva said.
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