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NH potholes expose construction loopholes

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  15 Jun 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Contractors with incompetent engineers violated origil designs, roles of NHAI & RITES too under cloud

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, June 14: The collapse of an under construction bridge and the dangerous pothole that developed on the newly constructed Khapara-Sopur section of the East West Corridor has exposed the substandard work done by the contractors and the lack of quality control measures on the part of tiol Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and the engineering consultant RITES.

The Central government has already ordered a probe by an independent agency into the poor quality of road construction in the stretch, sources told The Sentinel.

Information received from official sources said that the contractors in this stretch have not maintained proper quality and violated the contracts by not adhering to the origil design.

According to the origil design, the stretch between Khapara to Sopur was to have around 15 culverts and 'slab boxes' to regulate flow of water.

The contractors did not construct even a single culvert, thus obstructing the water flow which in turn led to wear and tear of the road beds. Any change in the design needs approval from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which was not taken.

As for the bridge over Digaru at Sopur which collapsed a few days back, the sources said there were technical faults in the construction of the 'abutment wall'. "There was a tilt and shift of the wall. Moreover, the company which constructed the bridge did not take adequate measures to control the flow of the river during construction, which led to the pillar giving way," the sources said.

While the construction companies blatantly engaged in substandard work dodging the guidelines, fingers have been pointed at the NHAI, which gave the work contracts, and the RITES which monitored the constructions in that stretch.

RITES was mandated to inspect the work on a daily basis.

Allegations are rife that the companies which executed the works are mostly from outside the State and do not employ the best engineers in the region. "Normally it is seen that the firms from outside tend to send C Class engineers for overseeing work in the Northeast. This has led to poor quality of the projects," sources said.

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