Ludhiana, October 1
Though huge potholes have appeared on various roads in the city, the Municipal Corporation (MC) is yet to resume operation of its hot-mix plant to carry out patchwork on the roads. The plant was earlier closed in view of the rainy season and still remains unoperational due to a ‘shortage’ of the required aggregate, according to MC officials.
Even ahead of the civic body elections that are likely to be held in the coming months, various roads in the city remain in a dire strait. Councillors from the opposition have raised questions over the delay in starting the patchwork on potholed roads. They want the MC to take necessary measures to ensure timely repair of roads.
The hot-mix plant, where the material to lay the patches is prepared, was shut down in June in view of the rainy season and was supposed to have been made operational after mid-September. Now, despite the weather being clear, the plant still remains unoperational.
Notably, the MC does not operate its hot-mix plant during the rainy and winter seasons. An official of the civic body’s B&R branch said: “The patchwork is generally not done during rainy days as patches can’t be laid on a wet road surface and chances of water stagnation cannot be ignored. If a patch is laid on a wet surface, it might get damaged. As per instructions, we also avoid patchwork during winter season due to low temperatures.”
Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said the MC was ready to start the patchwork in the city but the required material (aggregate) was unavailable as mining had been stopped in the state. Once the government ensures availability of the aggregate, the hot-mix plant would be made operational again.
“There is only some amount of material left with the MC and it has been preserved for an emergency, like when the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister visits the city,” he added.
Harbhajan Singh Dang, Ludhiana Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and councillor from Ward 46, said the commuters were a harried lot on potholed roads, yet repair work was being delayed.
He said: “When taxes can be collected from the public, facilities should also be ensured. The hot-mix plant will remain closed during the winter season as well. The MC must take necessary measures and arrange the material to rerun the plant at the earliest.”
Kapil Arora, the president of the Council of Engineers, said: “It is the responsibility of the MC to ensure the repair of roads. Motorable roads are a fundamental right of the residents. If the required aggregate is unavailable in the state, the civic body can purchase it from neighbouring states, instead of making excuses.”
‘Aggregate scarce as mining halted’
Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said the MC was ready to start the patchwork in the city but the required material (aggregate) was unavailable as mining had been stopped in the state. Once the government ensures the availability of the material, the hot-mix plant would be made operational again.
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