HC questions the quality of tar toppings on city roads

Questioning why tar toppings on city roads do not last long, despite the Indian Road Congress guidelines in place and the government spending huge amount of public money on laying the roads, the Madras High Court on Wednesday contemplated an inspection by experts from the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras to ascertain the quality of the roads.

A Division Bench of Justices S. Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad decided to take a final decision on the issue on Thursday, after Additional Government Pleader E. Manoharan sought time to submit details such as money spent on laying the roads and steps taken by officials concerned to repair the roads on receipt of complaints from the public.

Referring to frequent damage caused to the road outside the Chennai Metrowater filling station at MRC Nagar in the city, the senior judge in the Bench said the tar on the road hardly lasted for two months and the reason cited was the water that poured down from tanker lorries when fully-loaded vehicles drove out of the water station.

“If the roads cannot withstand even the meagre water that drips from the lorries, how will they withstand heavy rains?” the judge wondered. He also expressed serious concern over city roads battered with pits and potholes becoming one of the prime reasons for road accidents and consequent loss of precious lives.

No guidelines

The judge raised several probing questions on the quality of roads during the hearing of a public interest litigation petition filed in February this year by R. Murali of New Perungalathur in Kancheepuram district. The petitioner had complained about the local town panchayat relaying the roads in the locality without milling the existing tar.

Arguing the case for him, his counsel S. Varsha contended that government civil contractors did not bother to scrap out the existing tar because it would cost them more. There were also no standard guidelines to be followed on the issue when it came to relaying of interior roads under the control of local bodies, she added.

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