PARTICIPANTS IN the seven-part symposium series on problems faced by the City today concurred that the condition of roads is deplorable and need a concerted endeavor for betterment. The first of the symposium series with the topic of ‘holes on roads or roads in holes’ organised by Indore Press Club took place at the Press Club today.
Mayor Dr Uma Shashi Sharma defended her council and its role in road maintenance by highlighting statistics on having built about 16 km of bond roads in her tenure, while building 13 km under the same scheme was in the process. She said that 109 roads required repairs and 27 of them are under the guarantee period. They would be repaired by the concerning contractors, she added.
Sharma said the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) would be taking up patchwork of roads on a war footing. It has been waiting for the incessant rains to stop. Most of the roads passing through the City require regular bitumen layering every three years, thus burning a large hole in the coffers of the IMC, she added.
City Congress president Pramod Tandon bombarded the Mayor with questions like why the roads in the majority of the localities and specially in posh colonies were riddled with potholes, while that in some areas had been built by the IMC with concrete, why the roads built in earlier times were still in a good condition? Is the change in BoT norms increasing guarantee period from 15 years to 30 years brought in by the BJP-led government aimed at benefiting the contractors? How many contractors had been served notice for their errant behaviour and against how many action had been taken?
He asked the Mayor to give the number of roads made during her tenure. Hinting at State BJP infighting, he said that general feeling prevailed that the State Government was not helping her by not providing adequate funding to the City.
Pointing at corruption he said that a company supplying bitumen already banned by UP and Punjab for the inferior quality of their product had been awarded a contract worth several crores.
The IMC was spending Rs 2 crore on patchwork, while most roads have a warranty period of three years from the contractor. He congratulated the public for having built cement concrete roads in even small colonies through ‘janbhagidari’, which, despite having no proper drainage, are in good condition because care was taken and quality ensured at the time of their construction.
Janta Dal (United) State spokesman Anil Tiwari lashing out at the callousness of the public said that it was high time they learnt to speak out for their rights and registered their protest loudly against being subjugated to live in unhygienic and inconvenient conditions.
He proposed seizing vehicles of the Mayor, administration officials and public representatives, thus making them commute on their own.
Tiwari said the City has been reduced to daily dramas and people have nothing to do except organise ‘bhumipujan’ as if this alone would complete the task and rid them of their woes. About 3000 km roads and about 7.7 lakh vehicles abound the City generating the largest revenue in the State, yet engineers and officials being paid handsome salaries make people believe outlandish things in the 21st century by blaming black cotton soil having a sinking tendency as the culprit.
The timings of road repair are so chosen that it witnesses heavy traffic flow within a short period thus providing little time for the material to settle in.
Tiwari advised officials to take a cue from the founder of the City, Devi Ahilya Bai, as no name plaque on any building shows her as its builder and no fault can be found even today in the Maheshwar fort built in her reign.
SGSITS HoD civil department Prof Vandane Tare said that a good quality bitumen/asphalt road costs about Rs 12 lakh per km. She urged roads to be built on the specifics laid down by the Indian Roads Congress and paying attention on design, quality of material, drainage and repair.
Journalist Prakash Hindustani compeered the symposium held under the presidency of Press Club office bearer Anna Durai.