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Is Public Works Coordination Agreement working? Fresh roads still being dug up

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Like many others, I was very happy when the Public Works Coordination Agreement was put in place to have better coordination between various civic agencies.

But two years down the line, I am not sure if this is really working. See this post by India Against Corruption on Facebook:

Corruption on the streets: Bangalore, Thimmaya road joining Millers Road: Was 'tarred' on 13th Sept. IN JUST TWO DAYS THEY HAVE STARTED THEIR ACT OF 'DIGGING THE ROADS" AS IF THEY WERE WAITING FOR THE CONSTRUCTION TO GET OVER. Is there a way to fight this unorganized way of functioning of our own state departments? IT PUTS A THOUGHT INTO A WELL ORGANIZED MAFIA as this happens with almost all roads that get fixed.

Comments

silkboard's picture

There is a way

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125 users have liked.

Didn't get the exact problem conveyed by the picture, but there is a way to fight shoddy quality and corruption in public works. And I think that is pretty much the only way. Demand super high levels of transparency on all aspects of project work - right from tendering, designs, quality audit to clearing contractor's bills. There is just no other practical way to "take them on".

BBMP's quarter-hearted attempt to put up a project database on Internet was encouraging.

idontspam's picture

Contract management

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There is an isue of laxity in framing contracts and the terms & conditions in it. This can be traced partly to expertise & mostly to corruption. Lax contracts allow the contractors to swindle the govt departments & also make it very difficult to hold contractors accountable in an audit. Water tight technical specs & T&C's are a must. 

But the problem of coordination & works being carried out without synchronization is mostly due to zero ownership to timebound outcomes & also lack of committment to quality of service to citizens. The only way out IMO is to set & demand high standards of service quality, including adherence to dealines with penalties. Without a stick there will be no committment to deadlines and hence no effort to find better & right way to do things.

srinidhi's picture

torsion strength of steel..

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130 users have liked.

was talking to a senior retired upright officer in PWD who has executed many road/bridge projects and he was mentioning of the process of tendering..

He was mentioning that most of the tenders atleast in his days were scrutinized very well by the design certification team and the finance teams..it was mandated that they conform to MOST stds..

But where it goes lacking is in the implementation part..for example the contractor submits certificates for steel procured which details quality and all..but most times the submissions are fake and the quality is not good..so the reason is checks on the standards and conditionsare missing or the so called engineers dont know how to check or too lazy to check..or plain dont want to check..

So ideally supervision is also a very important part for all projects..

 

silkboard's picture

standards exist, no?

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IDS, like srinidhi says, standards do exist. But since we never get to see the designs, we know about the shoddy quality too late in the game.

Some babus would say that what is the point of sharing so much technical detail on all projects, like 'you guys' will actually check them against standards. Well, start sharing first, and then we will see.

sanjayv's picture

Implementation stage problems

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Implementation stage problems are the easiest to check, especially for government departments,.  If standards are clearly specified, all one has to do is to take samples and get them checked and make sure there are penalties that really hurt for violations.  For example, if the steel quality is poor, write into the contract that the entire structure will be demolished to the extent necessary and will have to be reconstructed.  Similarly, concrete test samples and quality control facilities are standard in any decent construction.  Once the contractors realize that the government department means business, they will automatically comply.

What is wrong with the scenario above?  It is simple.  The government department must have the necessary competence to get this inspected, there should be no corruption and collusion and penalities should be simple, clear and easy to impose.  No complicated court proceedings and other unnecessary dilatory tactics. 

Citizens can play a role in keeping the process honest, but to ensure that what is delivered ijs indeed what is promised, one needs accountability and an effective govt dept involved.  For example, if a road fails in 1 year instead of a design life of 5 years, there should be a post mortem and somebody should pay for it,  if found responsible,.

 

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