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Protecting roads from heavy rains

About 4,000 miles of Punjab’s roads have been damaged due to unprecedented rains. Some roads were under water for days in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Bathinda cities. All these roads were built of premix carpet or other bitumen/ asphalt-based pavements.

The problem with the flexible pavements is that whenever the soil underneath sinks even a little bit due to stagnant water or other reasons, the pavement also sinks, bends and then cracks. The cracked bitumen loses it bond with the coarse aggregate and the pavement disintegrates. This is what has been happening in Punjab year after year. We have been making repairs with the same material, wasting lot of public money.



We should make reinforced concrete roads in portions which get damaged year after year during the monsoon. A 12-inch thick reinforced concrete pavement acts like a bridge slab and if proper compaction is done and 3000 pounds per square inch compressive strength is achieved, such a pavement can last 50 years. One such example is Patiala’s Mall Road.

Similarly, a small portion of the Jalandhar Kapurthala Highway in Basti Baba Kheil area, which was frequently damaged during the rainy season, was built with cement concrete. This portion, though its thickness is less than as suggested, has behaved very well during the rains. America has extensively used this technique. It is time India used it.



During rains, Bathinda’s drainage system is cause for concern for the administration and the political leadership. A small downpour bears heavily on the residents’ psyche. Because of topographical and demographic compulsions, we must provide a network of small ponds, each for low areas and then carry the accumulated water through sewer lines to the ponds on the city outskirts.

Roads and localities should be first drained by gravity into individual ponds by laying pipes. Further, each small pond be drained-off by lift pumps into big ponds on the city outskirts through already existing sewer lines.

We need not enhance the capacity of sewer lines. It will recharge, dilute and sweeten ground water. This also will keep the city life in motion, which grinds to halt during rains.



I read the news item, “Villagers plug Sutlej breach” (Aug 23). As ever, villagers proved to be real heroes by fixing breaches in the bunds caused by floods in Punjab without help from the government. As usual, while the victims are pooling resources to face the situation, the bureaucracy is routinely estimating the extent of damage to their crop.

In fact, such natural calamities come as godsend for our ministers. They enjoy air and boat rides at the government expense on the pretext of having a first-hand account of the situation. Rituals of flagging off trucks carrying relief material for the flood victims and other token gestures will not serve any tangible purpose. What is urgently needed is that the government should take long-term measures to check floods in the future.



Indeed, Patiala’s drainage system is very bad. Rainwater enters the houses
and roads are flooded with water for days. Moreover, water supplied to the
residents is sometime polluted with sewage. This is harmful and may lead to
outbreak of diseases.

Congress grass can be seen everywhere. It has become a big health hazard. Stray dogs and animals roam about freely, posing danger to the residents. The municipal authorities should take measures to resolve these problems.


Karzai is right

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai’s statement that Afghanistan has the right to strike at the militants’ nest has stirred a hornet’s nest in Pakistan. Mr Karzai is totally justified when he says that if the terrorists can kill their people in their homeland, then how is it not justified to kill them in their homes in Pakistan?

The time is now ripe for India to join hands with other forces wishing to root out terrorism. Pakistan is the breeding ground for terrorism. Therefore, India should prevail upon it to combat terrorism in Pakistan in its own interest.

Giving vital information to the government regarding the terrorists’ training camps on their land with proof will serve no purpose. Hence, India should strike at their bases in Pakistan with or without that country’s consent even if it leads to a short military conflict.

Major BALDEV SINGH (retd), Bahadurgarh (Jhajjar)

PCS exam age

The examination for recruitment to posts of Inspector in Excise and Taxation, Punjab, is being held after a period of 8-9 years. Similarly, recruitment to the Punjab Civil Service has not been held for 8-9 years. Many candidates waiting to appear have become ineligible as the maximum age limit is 35 years. Hence, the government should revise the age limit by 3-5 years to help them appear.

In Haryana, the maximum age limit has already been revised to 40 years for the HCS. In Rajasthan, the RCS exam was held in 2007 after a gap of five years. The Rajasthan government raised the age limit from 35 to 40 years. Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal should raise the age limit by 3-5 years.

RAJ SINGH, Jalandhar City


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