Engineers at MCC and PWD say that contractors are penalised only in rare cases.
Though roads deteriorating quickly to the point of being unmotorable with many potholes, no contractor has been blacklisted so far in the district. It appears the contractors have been given complete independence in works done with little or no supervision.
Even as numbers are not readily available, engineers in both the Mangalore City Corporation and Public Works Department say it is only in ‘rare’ cases that contractors are penalised.
After a work is completed, the contractor has to maintain the roads for two years. According to G.V. Rajashekhar, Executive engineer, MCC, an asphalt road should last a minimum of two years without potholes; however, here it lasts even lesser.
“This is because there is no proper drainage here. Roads are too narrow to make substantial drainage, or mud fills the side, or the road is lower than the shoulders. Water stagnates on the roads, and this leads to potholes quickly,” he said.
While echoing a similar thought, Gopal Naik, Executive Engineer, PWD, said there was a need to update the design specifications. The roads in the district were designed for vehicles that are a maximum of 16 tonnes. However, tankers and other vehicles that weigh up to 50 tonnes now traverse on smaller roads reducing the lifespan of the road.
Both engineers claimed quality was “strictly” monitored by junior engineers, and if a defect was found, the contractor had to repair it with no cost from the government.
In the city, roads such as Kankanady by-pass, stretches of Car Street, Kadri-Nantoor road, Padua link road may all remain pothole-ridden for a long time as the Corporation focuses on concreting them instead of relaying the asphalt. And this process is subject to release of funds.
Why do you have to suffer?
When asked why strict action was not taken against contractors even though the tender permitted the government departments to penalise them, G.V. Rajashekhar, Executive engineer, MCC Corporation, said: “When we send a notice to a contractor, he blames the Corporation for sewage works or allowing electric line works. Contractors will also lose interest in coming forward for these works if we blacklist or penalise indiscriminately.”