“Quality control is to be the substratum of all PWD (B&R) operations,” said Vijay Inder Singla, PWD Minister Punjab. There is no use of crying over spilt milk, said he and added that gone are the days of conducting enquiries and suspending officials after the malfunctioning of a project. Now, the owners of all the hot mix plants in the State have been directed to install Automatic Computerized Bitumen Extraction Furnaces to determine the quantity of bitumen contents in the premix material and the Automatic Computerized Bitumen Extraction Reports have been made mandatory for all projects related to construction and repair of roads. In fact, the payments would be released to the agencies only if the said reports are attached along with the bills. This would decimate the possibility of human error as compared to the crude quality control methods used earlier. Added to this, four Special Flying Squads have been formed under various XENs supported by two SDOs each. They have been empowered to conduct inspections throughout the State any day, any time at any ongoing PWD construction/repair work, on the receipt of a complaint. This would help to detect/control the compromise in quality of work, if any.
Simultaneously, Punjab Public Works Department is upgrading its Quality Control Mechanism at Research Laboratory, Patiala by an approximate investment of Rs. 7 crores. In the first phase, an approval has been given to purchase the latest quality control equipments including Falling Weight Deflectometer for Structural Evaluation and Strengthening of Flexible Road Pavements, Retro Reflectometer for Road Markings and Signage, Nuclear Density Gauge etc. with a total financial outlay of Rs. 2.82 crores. With the up gradation of the laboratory 13 additional tests will be conducted along with the 34 different tests already being conducted.It is pertinent to mention that PWD(B&R) Research Laboratory is working as the only approved departmental testing laboratory in the State of Punjab. In addition to checking / testing of departmental samples, the laboratory also deals with the testing of samples received from various Engineering Departments like Irrigation, PUDA, Panchayti Raj, Punjab Health system Corporation, P.S.I.D.C, Vigilance etc. for quality check, at a nominal fee. So, upgrading the Lab would be beneficial for all such departments.In the second phase an additional amount of Rs. 4.00 crores is proposed to be spent in strengthening Quality Control infrastructure with latest international standards testing equipments to ensure strict and regular testing of all infrastructure works being carried out in the State of Punjab.A Mobile Testing Van equipped with the latest testing equipments has also been inducted in the department facilitate on site testing in far flung areas. It will be functional from September, 2018.Mr. Singla informed that Automation of Stone Crushers and Asphalt Hot Mix Plants to achieve the desired production of stone aggregates and hot mix material by eliminating human error is also being explored. A high level committee has been constituted to visit Hot Mix Plants and Stone Crushers and submit report as to how consistent quality of mixed material can be obtained.