The Delhi High Court has warned the government that the image of the national capital will take a severe beating in the eyes of the world if the potholed roads here are not repaired before the Commonwealth Games 2010.
Expressing serious concern over the poor shape of Delhi roads, the court pulled up the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for not doing enough to crackdown on the nexus of corrupt engineers and contractors that was primarily responsible for the state of affairs.
“The MCD and other agencies taking care of the constructions and maintenance of roads in Delhi need to act expeditiously because Delhi is hosting the Commonwealth Games. What will be the image the capital of the country if the roads remained in such poor condition?” said Justice Kailash Gambhir.
The Hindustan Times has carried a series of stories on the pathetic condition of the roads and explained how lucrative it was for corrupt engineers who colluded with contractors to keep roads in bad shape.
For example, in one year, a 1.5-kilometre stretch on Sewa Dham Road in East Delhi has undergone eight rounds of repair. The MCD spent Rs 25 lakh to lay the road and Rs 40 lakh on repairs. The dense-carpeted road that opened in June 2007 was designed to last five years.
“It is a daily experience of Delhites that roads are not worthy of use. Many accidents take place only on account of the sub-standard material used by the contractors and the same is done in active connivance and collusion with the engineering staff concerned of the MCD and other agencies,” said the court.
The stinging observations from the court came during the hearing of an anticipatory bail application filed by contractor Rakesh Tyagi against whom the police has filed an FIR related to corruption on a complaint by a resident welfare association in Old Rajender Nagar.
When informed by the civic body that action had been taken against 19 contractors, the court said “it only exposed its apathy and lackadaisical attitude” given that corruption was rampant. The anti-corruption bureau has already arrested some MCD engineers in connection with construction of sub-standard road in Old Rajinder Nagar.
Many engineers of the civic agency have already sought anticipatory bail fearing arrest. Now, the police have turned their heat on the contractors.
Granting bail to Tyagi, Justice Gambhir asked him to pay Rs 15,000 to the complainant association, which was praised for “raising voice against the inefficient, inactive and napping MCD”.