| A road under construction in Muzaffarpur. Picture by Deepak Kumar |
Patna, Dec. 14: The officials of the quality control wing of the road construction department are likely to get more power and function independently.
The road construction department is working on a proposal to increase their role in maintaining the quality of roads. It pertains to giving more independence to those functioning in this wing and to free them from the control of the officials engaged in the road construction work.
A senior official of the department told The Telegraph that the proposal talks of bringing the quality control wing officials under the control of circle offices. It would also pay their salaries.
The official said the decision to strengthen the in-house quality control wing was taken as the department did not get the desired result from the system under which assessment of the quality of roads was to be done by an independent agency.
As things stand now, the states of the road are divided into 62 divisions. Each division has a quality control wing. It comprises research and assistant research officers and four assistants. They function under the executive engineer of each division.
The executive engineer concerned is the authority who releases the salary of the personnel of this wing. The engineer allots the vehicles used by the quality control wing. A road construction department official said: “As the quality control wing scans the quality of work done by the works division, it would be appropriate to free it from the control of the officer. As the officer himself is responsible for the works being done there are chances of him/her creating obstacles in the independent functioning of the quality control wing.”
He said: “Under the proposed system, the functioning of the quality control wing would go in the hands of circles, which are headed by the officers of the rank of superintending engineer. This would help in independent functioning of the wing.”
The road construction department official said: “A detailed proposal in this regard is being prepared and would soon be sent for approval to the state government.” He added: “The proposal would also seek the government’s permission for filling the vacancies at assistant-level in the quality control wing.”
Manpower apart, the road construction department has also taken steps to strengthen the infrastructure required to conduct tests for checking the quality of the constructed roads. The first step on this front was taken around two years ago and a decision to upgrade the existing laboratory at the state headquarters, known as training testing and research institute, into a state-of-the-art one, was taken.
The upgrade work was completed last year. Since then defects were found in over 100 cases, the samples of which were tested here. Orders have been issued for relaying the poor quality roads.
Work is on in full swing for setting up of modern laboratories in all the 11 circles — Saharsa, Purnia, Muzaffarpur, Hajipur, Patna, Ara, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Dehri-on-Sone and Chhapra of the road construction department and four of these 11 laboratories would become functional in the 2010-11 fiscal.
The road construction department has also decided to upgrade the road testing laboratories in all the 62 divisions. “We intend to complete the upgrade work in the next two years,” said the official.
The construction of quality roads was one of the main agenda during the NDA-I rule in the state. During the past four-and-a-half years of the rule over 10,000km of roads — 3,054km of national highways, 1,807km of state highways and 5,990km of major district roads — were constructed.
The official said the road construction work would be done at a faster pace in the next five years and an effective check on quality control would ensure the roads last long.