Concerned over the condition of roads in the state, including the ones recently repaired or resurfaced, especially in Ahmedabad city, the court asked the state government if there were any guidelines on maintenance standards of the roads and whether there was any mechanism to hold a person responsible for bad roads and to take steps against that person.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala was hearing a PIL of Vadodara, in which a petitioner group had raised the issue of unworthiness of a 10-km stretch of road near Chhota Udepur that started tearing off within four months of its laying.
The petitioner contended that the road was laid by a contractor at the cost of over Rs 5 crore. The contract to build the road was awarded by the district panchayat. However, the road, which had been primarily made for heavy vehicles’ traffic, has been badly damaged within four months of its repair.
Hearing the PIL, Justice Pardiwala said the “condition of 90 per cent of the roads in Ahmedabad was poor”.
Notice was also issued to the contractor who built this 10-km stretch, the district and taluka panchayat and the panchayat secretary.
Justice Pardiwala asked if there was any mechanism to maintain quality of the material used to build roads and if there were any guidelines in that regard. “Inspections must be conducted (of such roads),” Justice Pardiwala said, and asked “…and what steps are being taken to hold these persons (contractors) responsible?”
After the monsoon, several roads across the state were potholed or broken. Government pleader Prakash Jani said that following the questions raised by the court, the Roads and Buildings Department could be made a party to the petition.
Jani said that the R&B Department has been accordingly added as a respondent to the petition. The court has issued notice to the respondents in the petition and posted it for further hearing after three weeks.