Potholes return on roads repaired last year; no sign of action against contractors

Potholes return on roads repaired last year; no sign of action against contractors
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Government had promised to hold contractors to account

JUNAID RATHER

SRINAGAR: While the government has pledged that any poor quality road laying would not be tolerated and has made contractors liable for repairing defects in their work, potholes have made a significant comeback in most of the roads, with the concerned department saying it will take more time to identify damaged spots before initiating their repair.
At many places, the potholes macadamised last year have already come loose, giving commuters a tough time, but there is no sign of the contractors redoing them.
Chief Engineer, Roads and Buildings (R&B), Nisar Ahmad Bhat told Kashmir Reader that the department has so far identified three patches across the Valley and that the concerned contractors had been directed to repair the roads on their own.
“We are yet to examine the roads this year. We were waiting for the rainy season to go so that the macadamisation process will start,” he said.
He added that once the patches are identified, the contractors responsible will be directed to repair the roads accordingly.
Bhat further stated that the macadamisation process has been started again, though it would take time to complete.
The government had earlier given assurances that contractors would be made accountable if repaired roads developed potholes within three years of their being macadamised.
However the government’s claims have turned out to be a ‘hoax’ on the ground as roads at various places, including Jahangir Chowk, Rambagh, Qamarwari, Baba Demb and others, have long developed potholes, but no one from the administration has made the concerned contractors accountable.
“In summers, there is a dust problem because of bad roads, and most of the times people here complain of chest problems,” said Abdul Majeed Dar, a resident of Rambagh.
He adds that the main problem emerges during the rainy season which makes roads accident prone.
The roads that are in shambles are putting the lives of commuters at risk, the locals said, adding that commuters are facing tremendous hardships while driving over these roads.
The locals said the R&B department, despite claiming to have achieved their macadamisation target for the first time, has failed to check the quality of the material being used during the process.
Mushtaq Ahmad, one among the residents of Qamarwari, said that the macadamisation has proved a futile exercise. “What else could be the alarming situation of corruption if money is being drawn from the state exchequer with the intention to benefit vested interests in the name of development to society? The matter is serious, and the government has to act to stop these irregularities for ‘real developments’ on the ground and to establish a corruption-free administration,” Mushtaq said.
The locals later appealed to the concerned department to look into the matter and redress their genuine grievances at the earliest so that they could breathe easy for the first in a long while.

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