Shimla circular road succumbs to corruption of SMC, HPPWD, contractor
SHIMLA-So, a part of the circular road near Shimla lift collapsed yesterday, and has made into headlines of every daily. Whole traffic plan for city had to be changed immediately. We are sure, most of you have already read about the trouble Shimla public faced yesterday, and which it is likely to suffer for next couple of months.
It was a surprise for the public, not for MC, HPPWD, Mayor or the contractor. They were quite aware of the risk for last five months when PWD had passed direction to the contractor to be careful owing to risk of collapse of the retaining wall.
Rajani Singh, ward councilor from Krishna Nagar, claims that she had submitted a written complaint to the Shimla Mayor regarding the ongoing work of the parking in the sinking zone, and that the rubble generated from the construction work is dumped into the nearby drain. This dumping is blocking the drain and converting nearby area into marsh.
To be precise, it was a 20-meter long retaining wall that collapsed. Fortunately, it wasn’t a sudden collapse, and the public and traffic police noticed cracks and rubble breaking off the wall prior to complete collapse or say even a couple of days ago when some cracks surfaced the road. No injury and no damage to life was reported except for a part of SMC (Shimla Municipal Corporation) multi-story building being damaged badly.
Who is responsible? The most important question is being answered with a blame game. The contractor, P.K. Sood, who has undertaken the contract of SMC parking project and was carrying out digging work right below the retaining wall, is blaming water leakage in MC pipes. According to Sood, he had already reported the leakage issue to MC and to the Mayor months ago, but they did not take any precautionary step in this regard.
This is the same contractor who had undertaken the contract for building lawyers chambers nearby. A major landslide had occurred on Apr 4, 2013 near this site as well. The whole area near High Court was under threat due to a heavy construction work going on here.
Then, HPPWD is under radar for not taking action when it already knew about deteriorating condition of the road. SMC engineers claim they had repeatedly warned PWD regarding the poor shape of retaining wall, but the reports were ignored.
When PWD was questioned regarding it, they blamed it to the excavation work going on for the construction of a multi-story parking. They are blaming the contractor for not considering the safety measures suggested to him before the commencement of digging work.
Then, we have news-cutting of a daily that clearly warned about water leakage and the possibility of complete collapse of a part of the road.
Then why the hell did no one move even a muscle when all concerned Govt. departments and the contractor were well aware of the situation? Apparently, it’s because no one cares about the public, their lives or their convenience. The whole focus is on corruption. Such contracts with private companies are the biggest opportunities to extract most out of public money. We aren’t quite sure how many official and private people share the profits they save even on construction of a parapet. The money for street-lights, drainage systems, roads, roadside safety measures or for any public facility barely reach its actual destination.
Here, the contractor is well known for his poor construction work and careless attitude. Of course, like any other typical Indian folk, this guy wants to save as much as he could on construction work.
Still, the biggest trouble is that no one cares to take responsibility or to seek answers from concerned Govt. departments. Their scams, ignorance towards such warnings, and lethargic attitude, none of it ever punished by no one.
Shimla city is heading towards a disastrous future due to over construction and illegal falling of trees to make space for commercial buildings like the one in the Tara Devi forest and DLF Luxury Villa project in Kanlog, Shimla.
The forest minister is enjoying his routine luxuries and position despite the fact that he is patronizing forest mafia in Shimla and his home state Chamba. He is making into news everyday, but no one is bothering to ask him except BJP MLAs walking out from assembly. Don’t mistake their walk-out as a concern, but it’s an allegation worth political gains.
The Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh, seems least concerned about the critics. After all, it’s the money and political power which decide the fate of all inquiries and allegations. The public, as usual, is helpless and equally unconcerned.
For public, the State of Himachal Pradesh is in financial crunch, but only public facilities and amenities are suffering due to it. Politicians are enjoying perks of power. No cut ever imposed on extravagant expenditure made on their amenities, salaries or allowances. Take a look at a recent news saying, “Govt spent Rs 1.6 crore on ministers’ cars in 18 months”. Below are the details of various ministers.