SRINAGAR: As minimum temperatures plunge, the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Departments issued a circular to halt blacktopping on roads across Kashmir. But the Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) continues administer the top layer on roads at temperatures that hover around the freezing point.
Just a couple of days ago, ERA laid the top layer on Rawalpora-Rangraeth road. Agency officials say that the road work will continue despite the drop in temperature, because they use an advanced chemical combination that binds the material and settles it down despite freezing temperatures.
Director ERA, Satish Razdan, said, “We have chemicals that suit the temperature.”
However, the R&B halted blacktopping despite the availability of the chemical. Last month, the department consulted its superintending engineers and executive engineers before issuing the circular to stop blacktopping.
“In recent past there has been a considerable drop in the temperature. The matter was discussed with the superintending engineers and executive engineers and the collective opinion emerged that the macadamisation should be stopped,” reads the circular, adding, “In light of the deliberation, it is hearable directed that … no macadamisation work be executed after October 15,” he said.
For the last few years, the state government has been claiming that it would continue macadamization of roads even in winter months with the help of the latest technology. However, the process has not been studied properly, and as result the idea was dropped.
Superintendent Engineer R&B, Showkat Geelani, said the department won’t take the “risk”. “R&B department can also use the chemicals but we don’t want to take the risk as the temperature dips further and further and it (macadam) won’t settle down.”