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Warnings have failed to improve condition of city roads in Allahabad
Senior advocate Mr. Shahsi Kant Verma has come out with a realistic suggestion, saying that even now, as late as in August, if the authorities choose to give topmost priority to the repair and total renovation of some selectively chosen important roads and thoroughfares of the city, much of the traffic confusion and congestion would be eliminated.

WHILE I fully agree with him, I am constrained to say that the authorities concerned just don't accept any constructive suggestion. I have been saying for over a year that they should not start work on new roads but complete those in hand.

But all sane advice has fallen on deaf ears. One cannot accept that they can't read or have not gone through those suggestions. If they are not following them then it is because of their own vested interests which are acting as a strong hindrance against adopting any commonsense approach. They will cook up a mountain-high barrier of red tape and quote various difficulties that they face. That is unbelievable, absurd. They must be having their own axe to grind. And it is that axe which brooks no interference with their work but cuts through all barriers of common sense that come their way.

All warnings, all threats have had no impact on the working of those manning the system. Commissioner Chaturvedi warned them some months ago that if construction works at any road-site was found to be below standard the contractor and the officials concerned will be sent to jail. Did that have any impact? Perhaps the corrupt elements took that warning as a challenge and went on executing their work without any fear of any one.

Now PWD Minister Shivpal Singh Yadav also thundered around with the same warning that if work was found to be sub-standard, the erring contractors and those supervising their work will be sent to jail. But has the Ministers warning also had any impact? Many months ago Minister Azam Khan threatened to throw the inefficient officials into the Ganga. Thank God he didn't try it or else the Ganga would have become more polluted!No threats wilt work; none has worked because those concerned are determined to make hay while the sun shines. Who will dare to stop them? If the senior officials become too, nasty the manipulative lords, of the world of corruption will have them transferred.

Why are the officials not agreeable to any proposal that speaks of repairing only some roads at a time? The reason is fairly obvious. By simultaneously digging up the whole city, they have made large areas of Allahabad inaccessible for thorough inspection. Even if a ministerial team comes, it may run away after visiting a few areas. How can anyone move about through the roads that have been turned into a mess, deliberately by the contractors, as alleged by many?

The corrupt elements among the PWD have found in the Mahakumbh works a golden opportunity to feather their nests with golden and silver straw. It need hardly be stressed that the PWD has got the lion?s share of the budgeted amount sanctioned for Mahakumbh. Out of Rs 699 crores allocated for Mahakumbh works, the PWD gets Rs 400 crore for the task of upgrading, widening and strengthening more than 100 roads in the city.

Didn't Rajiv Gandhi once say that only fourteen paisa of a rupee reaches the person it is supposed to reach? He might have said it in a different context. But one won't be surprised if only 14 per cent of the funds allotted for city roads are being used for the purpose. The rest of the funds could be getting lost on the way. The suspicion is strengthened by the horrifying state of the newly constructed or repaired roads which greet one with gaping potholes big enough to swallow a man in case he passes that way and does not notice it because of submerged roads following a heavy shower.

The dug-up roads of Allahabad are a disgraceful testimony to the horrible work culture prevailing all around. He says that on the Independence Day, when we remember how freedom fighters threw out the British rulers, we should also not forget that along with them we unknowingly threw away their expertise which they had liberally and generously used to give us solid bridges and network of good roads, some of which are still there taunting at us, as if saying, Look, we are still there. Yours have been washed away. If we can?t do it, let us frankly admit it, beg freedom fighters for forgiveness and then think of exporting foreign experts and engineers to complete our roads and give them a durable future.

If we can talk about FDI in other spheres, why not in the field of construction work too! Or, let the PWD and contractors give a guarantee that there will be no hanky-panky business any more. What have you to say to that?

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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