G. Mahadevan

Into lapses on the part of engineers in laying the HDPE line

Vigilance team complains of

non-cooperation

Pipeline had burst three times

in March

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even though it is more than two weeks since the Managing Director (MD) of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) ordered an inquiry by the internal vigilance wing into possible lapses on part of Authority engineers who supervised the laying of the HDPE line from Vayalikkada to Medical College Hospital (MCH), the inquiry is yet to get off the ground.

According to sources in the KWA, the inquiry has been stymied by top officials of the Authority who do not wish their fellow engineers to come in the line of fire over problems relating to the Theerapadhom scheme.

Faced with dead ends in their efforts, officials of the vigilance wing turned to KWA MD Suresh Babu for help. Mr. Babu had to issue an order asking that the inquiry team be given all assistance.

The MD on Tuesday confirmed to The Hindu that he had issued such an order. “The inquiry will be done. I have asked that all necessary files be handed over to the vigilance team,” he said. The files would reveal what action, if any, KWA engineers initiated against the shallow laying of the HDPE line at Vayalikkada.

In March, when this line burst three times in 13 days, the KWA and Kerala Sustainable Urban Development Project (KSUDP) Director Anand Singh had written to Hydro-Tech Engineers and Contractors — the company that laid drinking water pipelines in the city as part of the Theerapadhom project. They wanted the company to re-lay a stretch of the line at the company’s cost. The fact that the line was laid less than a foot deep from the road surface was identified by the KWA as the prime reason for the bursts. In reply to KSUDP’s communication, on March 31, Hydro-Tech’s managing partner Biju Jacob noted that his company was willing to re-lay the Vayalikkada line if paid for the job. The letter also pointed out that the sample trench dug near the culvert at Vayalikkada-Muttada road — where the bursts took place in March — revealed an Anchor Block Structure across the road. This structure was put in place by the KWA for supporting three of its pipes passing beneath the road. According to Hydro-Tech officials, the HDPE line could not be laid any deeper at the stretch near its origin as such an action would have damaged the anchor block and the KWA’s lines.

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