Touria Prayag's Blog

Cracking under the pressure 6 March 2014

Posted in Uncategorized by touriaprayag on January 23, 2015

If there is a limit to intellectual dishonesty, it has
not been discovered yet. And certainly the events
following the discovery of the cracks (chasms is
a more appropriate word) in the brand new Ring
Road are not likely to make our journey towards
this discovery any shorter. Under other circumstances,
we would all be cracking up.
It is an embarrassing moment for the country.
Very embarrassing. And no one can accuse us
of bad faith. When the new road opened, we
hailed it as the most precious Christmas gift we
had ever received. The press from all boards
waxed lyrical about its beauty and elegance. As
for the convenience it has added to our lives,
suffi ce it to say that most of us commuters received
an average of one hour or two a day as a
gift. Two hours of stressful time we used to spend
stuck in horrendous traffi c jams we can now add
to our leisure time. No mean feat. Who cares
about the cost? Who can put a price on our time
and serenity? So, we smiled and looked forward
to more of the same as the other stretch of road
was due to open.
Before it did, however, cracks started showing
slowly but surely. Then parts of the road turned
into a pitiful sight. Still, no problem. After all,
when you embark on a project of such magnitude,
you expect some things to go wrong.
That’s why there is a warranty and a maintenance
period during which the building company
undertakes to right the wrongs which
may appear in the construction they have
handed over to the client. Except that, in this
case, instead of the companies involved in the
construction – not exactly third class builders
you might expect to run away with your money
– endorsing the responsibility, the usual
ridiculous folklore of dancing around the truth
started between the Ministry, the Road Development
Authority and the builders. So, as
it is usually the case, it is nobody’s fault. Another
fi lm with no villains!
Then the builders suddenly had an attack of
conscience and – after denying any responsibility
at all in a road they were entirely responsible
for building – and after a lengthy meeting with
foreign consultants – out of the blue decided that
they were, in fact, taking full responsibility for
the repairs! Pity, they denied themselves the
dignity of taking responsibility for what they did
out of their own initiative. They would have
avoided getting on the wrong side of the taxpayers
by suggesting that the government use our
money to pay for the bad workmanship showing
on this road.
Now we don’t know what the foreign consultants
– who must be cracking up at us as we speak –
suggested but there are some serious questions
to be asked here: fi rst, if we can no longer trust
big, reputable companies with our roads, who
do we turn to? And who is going to pay for the
delays caused by poor workmanship? What did
the report of the consultants include? Why did
the building companies suddenly have a change
of heart? And above all, how are mistakes like
these to be avoided in the future? Of course, we
don’t expect any answers other than the usual
reaction: move along, nothing to see here.
weekly@lasentinelle.mu

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