Guards meant for upkeep of roads working in R&B offices

Instead of maintaining roads, more than 800 'gang coolies' have been deputed for clerical work

MUKEET AKMALI
Srinagar, Publish Date: Oct 21 2017 12:09AM | Updated Date: Oct 21 2017 1:14AM
Guards meant for upkeep of roads working in R&B officesFile Photo

Hundreds of road guards, meant for the upkeep and vigil of the roads, have disappeared from the valley roads, as they have been deputed to R&B Department offices for clerical jobs and other work. 

These road guards, who were known to public as gang coolies, were once acting as watchdogs of the roads, besides carrying the patch work and other necessary cleaning of the roads but now none of them is now posted on the ground to do their primary job. 

 As per officials, government used to hire laborers to keep the roads and streets dust free. The job of these workers was maintenance of roads, particularly to clear dirt, which gets deposited in the shallow surface drains meant to dewater the roads. The cleaning, not only avoided dust, but also prevented waterlogging which damages the roads. 

 However for the past over two decades, officials say, the road guards became ‘reluctant’ to do their work on the roads and instead got absorbed at the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department offices for clerical jobs.

“As a result of which their cadre strength declined to a large extent and with promotions over the years, they preferred posting in offices or divisions,” said an executive engineer of PWD wishing anonymity.

“Gang coolies used to keep vigil and inform the higher ups about any work being done on road link and also stop any damage done by public to roads.”

“These days, people often blame lack of coordination between departments for messy roads. We have ample examples where R&B had constructed roads which were dug by other department within few days of macadamisation,” he said adding

“Road guards used to stop people from washing their vehicles or digging roads and would inform higher ups about any damaged caused to roads. Also their job was to fill holes which would surface on roads,” he said, adding, “This used to increase lifespan of roads across Kashmir. But unfortunately government turned blind eye towards this important segment of workforce whose jobs saved hundreds of crore of rupees.”

As per official data of R&B, currently there are around 800 road guards presently employed with the R&B, but working in the offices instead on roads.