News Brief

Uttar Pradesh: 'Pothole-Free Road Campaign' Creates Tensions Between Minister Jitin Prasada And PWD Officials

Nishtha Anushree

Nov 02, 2022, 12:22 PM | Updated 12:22 PM IST

Jitin Prasada at PWD headquarters in Lucknow
Jitin Prasada at PWD headquarters in Lucknow
  • Delay in work, absence from office and poor quality work disappoints UP PWD Minister Jitin Prasada.
  • Uttar Pradesh Public Works Department (UP PWD) has undertaken the task of making roads pothole-free by 15 November on Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's order.

    In this regard, the UP PWD minister Jitin Prasada is working closely with the department's officials. On Monday, he cancelled the leaves of all the engineers to ensure the timely completion of task.

    In a review meeting held on 28 October, Prasada asked the officials for three things-

    1. Grant financial approvals for all the maintenance work by 31 October and provide daily progress reports to him.

    2. Prepare proposals for maintenance work of cost more than Rs 40 lakh by 31 October.

    3. Display zone-wise updates of financial approvals and maintenance work on an LED screen.

    However, his disappointment with the department's officials came out in public on Tuesday when he wrote a letter to Principal Secretary of UP PWD Narendra Bhushan.

    Prasada alleged in the letter that his instructions have not been followed and he has not received progress reports as asked. This demonstrates your "laxity" towards work, he wrote.

    He has asked Engineer-in-Chief (Development and Head of Department) Sandeep Kumar to give clarification on the issue. After this, the HOD asked Zonal Chief Engineers to file their progress reports.

    When this correspondent tried contacting Kumar for updates on the progress, his office told her, "pothole-free road campaign is being supervised by Sanjay Kumar Srivastava, so contact him."

    Srivastava is Chief Engineer Civil (Level-2) and is posted as Chief Engineer in Lucknow headquarters, as per the department's directory. The correspondent could not connect with him due to his unavailability.

    Prasada faced another disappointment when he paid a surprise visit to the department's headquarters in Lucknow and found many officers absent. He has given orders of strict action against such officers.

    While Prasada is disappointed by the delay in the work, the quality of the work done is also bothering him. He found out on Monday that a road in Kanpur built at a cost of Rs 34 crore did not satisfy quality standards.

    "If quality standards are not met, strict action will be taken. I have asked officers to work 24*7 to repair the roads damaged by rain... Prima facie it appears that the contractor is responsible for poor quality work," he said.

    Since then, he decided to himself check the quality of the maintenance work across the state. On Tuesday, he was in Sitapur for a similar inspection.

    Prasada also said that after the Morbi bridge tragedy, he alerted the PWD officials to conduct a survey of all the bridges across the state. Repair work will be done on the basis of the survey report, he said.

    Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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