The Delhi High Court put civic agencies in the dock, asking them to explain why the roads in the Capital can’t even withstand one spell of rain. Expressing concern over the condition of roads, the court, on Monday, wanted an explanation why all roads couldn’t be like those in the Chanakyapuri area — home to all the embassies.
The court also took a serious note of the six deaths at the Moolchand underpass, caused by the uneven road carpeting. Justice Kailash Gambhir told the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the Public Works Department: “One area where the roads are perfectly motorable — without any potholes and stands the test of all seasons — is the area surrounding the embassies in Chanakyapuri. The question is why all roads in Delhi cannot be built on the same standards.”
Warning that if things are not set right soon, the Capital is up for a major embarrassment during the Commonwealth Games, the court said, “Construction of the roads is shoddily executed, as most of the roads cannot even stand one spell of rain.”
Justice Gambhir, taking a dig at the frantic efforts to recarpet roads before the Games, said: “Why should the common man, who pays a good amount as road tax, expect good roads only before an international event? The situation is distressing that they do not get optimal use of their vehicles, as its life also gets shortened after driven on bumpy roads.”
The Delhi High Court, while hearing cases against road contractors booked for corruption, has been issuing directives to improve the roads since 2008.
The court pulled up the MCD, too, holding it accountable for the state of the roads.
The court also held the agency responsible for not cracking the corrupt nexus between its engineers and contractors.
“Despite various directions, the picture appears to be more dismal than what is shown through affidavits,” the court said, asking the MCD to file a status report on the agency’s quality checking measures that it claimed to have initiated.
The judicial intervention came after Hindustan Times first highlighted the corruption in September 2008 through a campaign that highlighted how corrupt MCD engineers found it highly lucrative to collude with contractors and keep the roads in bad shape.
Following the campaign, the MCD took action against 19 contractors.