Info panel comes down heavily on Corporation for bad roads

It wants former defence engineers deployed to inspect all 200 wards

The Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC) has come down heavily on the Greater Chennai Corporation for poor quality of roads, rainwater harvesting structures and drainage systems that caused flooding and inconvenience to the residents.

State Information Commissioner S. Muthuraj wrote this, disposing of a petition filed by V. Murugesh, city convener, All India Students Welfare Organisation, Chennai, alleging irregularities in road-laying at Perumalpuram abutting Greenways Road.

In his 2018 petition filed under the Right to Information Act, the petitioner said his area got flooded in the rain because of bad road work and sought details of the same. He alleged that the authorities were reluctant to part with the information sought since Ministers, Madras High Court judges and other senior officials were residing in the area.

In his order, Mr. Muthuraj called for an inspection of roads, rainwater harvesting structures and drainage systems in all 200 wards of the Greater Chennai Corporation. He recommended that personnel retired from the Military Engineering Services having expertise in civil work be deployed to inspect these amenities and supervise repairs as per the norms.

Disciplinary action

Suggesting that civil contractors should be asked to make amends for sub-standard work done while laying roads, the State Information Commissioner said disciplinary action should be taken against officials for lack of accountability. Mr. Muthuraj said new roads were being laid on the existing and damaged ones; this resulted in the roads rising above the ground level. Office, commercial and residential buildings were below the road level on either side, resulting in flooding and rainwater stagnation.

“Retired defence personnel from the Military Engineering Services should be posted in each of the 200 wards to inspect and supervise repairs/rectification work. Instead of milling the old roads, the contractors have been laying new roads on the existing ones to save money. The road in many areas is now above the ground level. Such roads should be identified and rectified as per the Indian Roads Congress’s guidelines at the cost of the contractor responsible for the irregularity,” Mr. Muthuraj recommended to the Commissioner, Greater Chennai Corporation.

Elaborating on the poor quality of civil works, he quoted from a communication from Corporation officials and said that while the width and height of a speed-breaker should be 5 metres and 10 cm respectively according to the Indian Roads Congress’s guidelines, the one in front of the official residence of the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court was 7.5 metres and 17 cm respectively.

Government and private buildings were never built below the road level. But laying new roads repeatedly on the existing ones led to the elevated road levels, Mr. Muthuraj said, ordering ₹27,000 in compensation to the petitioner for the delay in his getting information from the Public Information Officer. The Greater Chennai Corporation could decide whether the money should be recovered from the official responsible for the delay in providing complete information, he said.

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