Chennai

HC summons officials to explain relaying of roads without milling

The petitioner body complained that the shops had gone below road level due to contractors foregoing the million process and laying new roads on top of the existing tarmac in order to cut costs. Photo: File

The petitioner body complained that the shops had gone below road level due to contractors foregoing the million process and laying new roads on top of the existing tarmac in order to cut costs. Photo: File   | Photo Credit: K. Pichumani

Judges point out how platform around War Memorial has sunk below road level

The Madras High Court on Wednesday summoned the Municipal Administration and Rural Development Secretaries as well as the State Highways Secretary to the court on Friday to explain as to why most of the roads and highways across the State were being relaid indiscriminately without milling the existing tar.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and P. Velmurugan passed the order on a writ petition filed by Mayiladuthurai Chamber of Commerce seeking a direction to the local body to ensure that the civil contractor concerned laid a new road at Pattamangalam Street, a business locality, only after scrapping out the damaged tarmac.

The petitioner body complained that the shops had gone below road level due to contractors laying new roads on top of the existing tarmac in order to avoid costs incurred in milling. They also accused the civic body of not giving enough attention to the issue.

Concurring with it, the judges, in their interim order, said, that indiscriminate laying of roads without any concern for the buildings abutting it leads to inundation during rains. When residential houses and commercial buildings get flooded with water, it also leads to blockage of drainage and other consequential problems.

“The classic example is the War Memorial in Chennai. The memorial has got a platform surrounding it. In the 1980s, the height of the platform was about five feet and it was very difficult to climb the said platform from the road. In due course, the road has been repaired and relaid without milling.

“The present condition is that the height of the road has gone up and the platform has gone down. When that is the position in the arterial road in the city of Chennai, one can understand the position of the roads in other Corporations, Municipalities, towns, urban areas and villages. No contractor is milling/scraping the road before relaying the road,” the judges said.

Holding the corporation officials responsible for not properly monitoring the work done by the contractors, the judge said that the only solution to the perennial problem was that the officials concerned should be identified and taken to task whenever a contractor fails to ensure milling before relaying the road.

The judges also took note that the first Division Bench of the High Court had dealt with a similar case in 2018 when the government officials assured the court that henceforth no road would be relaid without milling.

“In spite of giving such an undertaking before the First Bench of this court and the direction issued by the First Bench, no proper steps have been taken,” the judges said and insisted upon blacklisting errant contractors.

People should also be provided with a mechanism to lodge complaints whenever roads in their locality were relaid haphazardly, they added.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 5:42:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/hc-summons-officials-to-explain-relaying-of-roads-without-milling/article30926671.ece

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