Umaisar Gull Ganie
Srinagar, May 12: The Roads and Buildings Department (R&B) is all set to start the macadamisation process of roads in the second quarter of this month, with officials claiming that about 1400 kilometers of Linear Road Length will be macadamised in the current financial year.
Chief Engineer R&B Kashmir, Rafiq Ahmad Rafiq said that the department plans to complete the macadamisation of 1467.85 kilometers of roads in the region by the end of this year (2022).
“The tendering process for macadamisation of Roads is underway and the work will most likely start in the 2nd quarter of this month,” he said, claiming that adequate estimated funds are available with the department in the current financial year.
Questioned on the absence of road connectivity in rural areas, he said that the statement seems to be based on “misinformation”. “As a matter of fact, most of the village roads constructed under PMGSY programme have witnessed upgrade, besides upgradation under other funding sectors like NABARD and CRF by our department,” he said.
He said that the roads constructed/ upgraded under PMGSY and NABARD are maintained mandatorily for five years after physical completion under one contract by the same agency which has constructed the road.
“Around 310.30 kms of Village Roads are being constructed under NABRD and CRF scheme in the current Financial Year by R&B Department,” Rafiq said.
He said that the R&B Department is in the process of adopting new emergent Low-Cost Construction Technologies in the field of road development and maintenance with ample use of Additives (e.g Evotherm) and use of Reusable Asphalt Technology to increase the Service Life and Durability of the roads in Jammu Kashmir and decrease the cost of construction of roads.
Questioned on the potholes that developed during rains, especially in Kashmir valley, he said, “Potholes on road surface are developed primarily due lack of care by road users and non-conforming usage of Bitumen Road Surfaces and inadequate surface runoff disposal availability due to geographical condition of the bowl-shaped valley areas which exist at lower elevations than the adjacent basin areas.”
He also said that clearance of snow by non-conforming machinery like Loaders and Tractors without rubber rollers in the past also led to damage of roads. “In this regard, Field Functionaries have been directed to use Snow Clearance Equipment with latest technologies for prevention of any coherent damage to road surface and immediate stoppage of using loaders and tractors with shovels lacking rubber rollers/pads for snow clearance,” he said.
The Chief Engineer said that in the current financial year, a proposal for procurement of snow clearance attachments for loaders and tractors for each division is under consideration.
Speaking on the complaints received by the department, he said that most of the demands are often presented as a complaint, which gives a different dimension to the issue. “I understand that demands in the shape of complaints generally outnumber the complaints in the real sense. The complaints of road commuters are addressed by the Grievance Cell established in the Direction Office and Circle Offices through offline mode,” he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that an online grievance portal in the form of the Governor’s Grievance Cell is in place in the Union Territory and such complaints forwarded to any Government office on the portal are addressed on a regular basis.
Rafiq said that a strong Quality Assurance, Control, and Monitoring System is in place. “Quality is assured by specifying the parameters ahead of time, and quality is controlled by performing the necessary tests to ensure that the parameters meet MORTH specifications,” he said.