Investigate the Military Engineering Services for its quality of work
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We, the families of Indian Defence personnel hereby propose to investigate the efficiency, integrity and functioning of its concerned maintenance works organisation, the Military Engineering Services, due to the major risks posed to the lives of our children and selves who stay in houses they construct. There have been life threatening incidents caused due to substandard quality of work which may be the result of mismanagement of funds or greed of a few corrupt individuals. Life is miserable to those who have had to compromise with the work of MES due to the hectic and demanding life of the service personnel who have limited time to investigate the quality of work offered.
The structures erected by the MES NEVER last for the promised guarantee period and require extensive repairs within the very first monsoon that they endure. The reason cannot be anything other than poor supervision and quality control of the work of greedy contractors during the construction or corrupt complicity of officials entrusted with such duty. From the amounts that are sanctioned for specific works, it is evident that they are abundantly adequate for the cost as well as a profit for the contractors. However it is also evident that the profit margins are increased abnormally through use of inadequate raw materials and cheap substandard alternatives. Many low level workers of contractors easily admit (in private conversations) about such swindling that is in progress at the cost of public funds and risk to the innocent occupants.
Even though there are numerous examples of poor work quality, few of the more dangerous cases are mentioned below.
1. Weak ceiling and walls.
The ceilings of most of the houses are dangerously weak with frangible plastering, many of which are susceptible to failing. Walls have heavy seepage due to which they crack within a single monsoon season. Fungi growth is abundant on the walls. This creates a very poor unhygienic atmosphere inside the house for the ladies and kids who spent more time at home. When repainting is requested, the MES has the standard reply that it is done only once in 2yrs. If the original work quality was ensured then of course 2 yrs was adequate, which is not the case unfortunately.
2. Leaky electric wiring.
Many houses here have had incidents of short circuit and electric shock. The wiring done is in some cases erroneous with substandard material or there is severe dampening of walls due to seepage which affects the safety of the electrical connections. There are incidents of shock from electric appliances and many have lost their expensive devices to fire.
3. Corroded pipe lines
The pipelines to the quarters, due to substandard material quality, are corroded from inside soon after installation because of which the water coming out has rust and sediments. Despite using water filters for drinking water, many other uses of the water poses a serious health risk, especially to children.
The response of the MES officials to many complaints of the occupants of the houses is usually with a show of helplessness and their own version of the system which they purport to be severely under-funded. Such claims by the MES is hard to believe as over the years, we the families of the Defence personnel of India have grown wiser regarding the funds that are being released for the works on our houses and are intelligent enough to understand that they are quite adequate to provide us with very good quality dwellings and other infrastructure. Even a shallow investigation can expose the poor quality materials used in their work.
It is therefore an urgent need that a thorough investigation is undertaken into the functioning of the MES for the sake of the safety of our children. The sad state of affairs was underlined when a four year old boy lost his life falling from the sixth floor of a newly finished building at Goa because the contractor saved a few rupees by attaching the window he was holding on to with just sealing compound and no screws. Before another life is expunged by this maligned system, an inquiry needs to expose the pitfalls in this organisation.
Article in Times of India
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