Chennai: Rain washes away roads, exposes graft underneath | Chennai News – Times of India


CHENNAI: This year’s rain not just exposed the faulty storm water drain network constructed by the Chennai corporation, but also the poor quality of roads laid in a jiffy just before the assembly elections.
Major roads which are not even a year old Brindhavan Street connecting T Nagar to West Mambalam, 13th Main Road in Anna Nagar, Harrington Road in Nungambakkam and P T Rajan Salai in K K Nagar have been battered by the rain. Corporation officials said in some stretches, road cuts were the reason, but activists said poor quality of bitumen and faulty road laying practices were the reasons.
For instance, in Anna Nagar, the road work on a 500m stretch was completed this October, but the road has already developed craters. “This road was not compacted properly. Usually the road mix is laid for 56mm and compacted to 40mm. But the contractor didn’t do his work properly, thus it is wearing off,” said a corporation contractor.
In Brindhavan Street, due to poor bitumen quality, the gravel didn’t stick together. Because of that, after the rain, the road developed huge craters, an official said. “We cannot blame it just on the quality. There were some road cuts that were done by TNEB,” said an official. When pointed out that the craters are in the centre of the road, the official said they were because of rain water stagnation.
All these were part of the 3,200 city roads, small and big, that were awarded to contractors in February 2021, beating the model code of conduct, which kicked in on March 1, 2011. In their hurry to call for and award contracts ahead of the April 2021 elections, the GCC engineers at zonal level had added several roads that were in good condition to the list of roads being repaired.
A corporation engineer said in roads such as P T Rajan Salai, the problem was that the joints were not laid properly and the road mix quality itself was poor. “In all roads in Chennai, you can easily spot the joints. It will develop cracks over time if not laid properly. Slowly, it will turn into craters. Earlier, the engineers would inspect the spots and ensure the joints are done properly,” said an engineer.
Every year a minimum of 500cr is spent on roads alone and the last few years, only capital funds were used for the purpose. TOI had reported in July that the quality of road mix was not a per standards in more than 50 locations. Also, the bitumen was found to be adulterated and was purchased from foreign refineries instead of the centre owned oil refineries. Chennai corporation had also cancelled a few road contracts and had made bitumen purchase invoice mandatory. However, crores of rupees have now literally gone down the drain.

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