Thursday, July 12, 2012

The singular case of the undug stretch of road.

The Chairman of the Committee To Ensure Continued Dissatisfaction of Chennai Citizens (CTECDCC) was a worried man. The situation was alarming enough for him to convene an emergency meeting of the CTECDCC.  A report had been filed by the Roving Audit team (RAT) that a serious violation had been committed.  On one of the roads in the southern part of the city, a continuous stretch of 10 metres had been spotted with the top surface intact and investigations showed that it had remained so for the last 48 hours. This was unpardonable.

The CTECDCC was a cross-functional task-force consisting of members from the departments in charge of water supply, sewage, storm water pipe, electricity cables, telephone cables, data cables and roads. The team members needed to coordinate their respective activities in such a manner as to ensure that, at any given time, any part of the city roads was kept dug up on both sides. If a given stretch was dug up by the Storm Water Dept and filled and paved after 4 months, the telephone department had to swiftly mobilize its resources and ensure that it was dug up again. After a few months when the re-filling was done, the electricity dept would take over and so on. The constant filling/re-filling was necessary to provide an element of surprise. Drivers shouldn't be allowed to settle down to a pattern for too long.

The noble mandate of the CTECDCC was to make sure that citizens did not get accustomed to or spoilt by paved or smooth road- which would unnecessarily increase expectation of service levels and put the system under strain. Moreover, keeping the roads dug and with potholes ensured benefits to the local economy and resulted in good GDP growth. Cars had to change their shock-absorbers more often, tyres had to be fixed for punctures and motor-bikes that had fallen into ditches needed extensive repairs. Injured pedestrians and disabled senior citizens boosted the income of hospitals, while vehicles consumed more fuel and provided revenue for oil companies. Besides, when each department dug up the road by turn and filled it back, a virtuous cycle was created. Workers could be kept continually engaged and diverted. 

The CTECDCC was an ISO-9000 certified organization and systems were in place to eliminate possibility of non-conformance. Roving teams were trained to alert them even if a small stretch of road was found undug.

Yet this lapse had happened.  And a full 48 hours had passed before the Committee came to know about it. 

There was only one thing to be done. The house owners on either side of the road and abutting the undug stretch had to be prosecuted on charges of willful and gross negligence in not bringing the matter to the notice of the officials.

Yes, only such a measure would prevent such slippages again and ensure that all citizens would discharge their duties as required of them. If rules were not enforced stringently, Indian society as we know it and take pride in being a part of, will crumble and degenerate. The CTECDCC could not be a mute spectator. 

Orders to that effect were passed by the Chairman and the meeting called to a close.


ramesh said...

raj won't you want to be the chairman of CTECDCC

Raj said...

Ramesh, wouldn't mind :)