Civic body continues to dig roads despite rain

CHENNAI: The rain hasn’t stopped the from work on roads and drains, though tar and concrete are not generally laid when it’s pouring. In several locations across the city, including Kilpauk and Villivakkam, contractors are busy at work.

“We will continue to work as it is just mild showers right now. When it starts raining heavily we will stop,” said M Govinda Rao, deputy commissioner, works, Chennai corporation.

Senior engineers said the work was to ensure rainwater did not stagnate, as it did last year, because of missing links or defunct drains. Superintendent engineer S Nandakumar, in charge of storm water drain projects, said, “All these projects that we are carrying out now were listed out by the 15 IAS officers who monitored floods, in consultation with zonal engineers. Cement concrete needs only two to three hours to set and thereafter any water will only add strength to the construction. Concreting will be done when it isn’t raining,” said an official. He added that “These contractors are not just carrying out work but are also pumping out stagnant water from streets. We have technical expertise and we are aware of the problems,” said the engineer.

But civic activists alleged that officials were only interested in completing projects, not ensuring quality. “The scheduled date of completion for these storm water drain projects was November. But they have not even completed 25% of it so far. Right now they should stop and resume work after the . And with so many discrepancies coming to the fore in the award of contracts, we demand that these tenders be cancelled,” said Jayaram Venkatesan of NGO Arappor Iyakkam.

Private civil engineers said that when they constructed buildings, they usually stopped during the rains as there was a possibility that the structure might become weak and fall. “It is always better to not lay concrete or tar during rains,” said a private builder.

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