KOCHI: The Palarivattom flyover stands testimony to how poor construction can flush crores of public money down the drain.Now, to crack whip on government contractors resorting to low-quality works, the state government has finally decided to amend the PWD manual incorporating “poor workmanship” as a reason to blacklist a contractor. A government order in this regard was issued by the Public Works Department (PWD) on June 23 .
“The government is serious about penalising contractors who refuse to abide by PWD’s quality guidelines. The government order to amend the PWD manual is the beginning,” Public Works Minister G Sudhakaran told TNIE.However, government contractors are not happy with the decision to amend the PWD manual and entirely blaming contractors for the poor work.
Kerala Government Contractors’ Association president Varghese Kannampilly said, “We welcome the decision. However, the government should specify the conditions for categorising a work as “poor workmanship”. Though the contractor is responsible for the quality of a work, the PWD also has some role in it.”
He said PWD engineers are duty-bound to ensure the work being done at each stage is as per quality standards and should not wait for the entire work to finish to assess its quality.Kochi Corporation Contractors Association secretary K A David too said the blame for poor work should not be put on contractors alone.
“The work estimate prepared by government engineers is also responsible for poor work. Usually, government engineers give an estimate of 2cm carpet tarring for roads, which leads to the roads getting damaged fast. We have repeatedly highlighted the need to increase the width of tarring layer to 15cm. However, the government’s attempt is to cover maximum area of tarring with minimum fund and the estimate is prepared accordingly. When a road gets damaged, the entire blame is put on the contractor. To ensure quality work, the government should prepare appropriate estimates,” David said.