Palarivattom flyover: Kerala HC seeks govt’s report on load test

KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Thursday ordered that demolition of Palarivattom flyover should not be carried out without obtaining permission from it. The court also asked the state government to inform whether it intends to conduct a load test.
A division bench comprising justices AM Shaffique and TV Anil Kumar issued the order after considering a petition (WP-C No. 26405/2019) filed by Association of Structural and Geotechnical Consulting Engineers through advocate Santhosh Mathew and two other petitions. The association had questioned state government’s alleged move to demolish the flyover and construct a new one without conducting a load test to know whether there is structural instability.

The main contention of the petitioner as well as the contractor and KITCO is that efficiency of the bridge can be considered only after a load test is conducted as per the provisions of the contract. As per clause 11 of the contract, the contractor is required to carry out load test on one of the completed deck if the engineer asks so. The engineer may insist for additional load tests for one or more of specified reasons. The reasons include concrete test cubes failing to attain the specified strength, shuttering being removed prematurely, concrete being improperly cured, or any other circumstance arising out of the contractor’s negligence that results in the structure or part of it having less than expected strength.

Though, IIT Madras inspected the bridge and directed that further test had to be conducted, nothing has been done by the state government. On the other hand, the government seems to have proceeded on the basis of the opinion of E Sreedharan, who is an advisor to the government, the petitioner had alleged. Sreedharan’s report cannot be taken for granted and as final as there are several infirmities, KITCO’s counsel KL Varghese submitted.
In the order, the court said, “Be that as it may, in so far as the contract contains a provision to find out the strength of the structure by conducting a load test, government shall consider whether a load test is to be conducted through a competent agency, either by IIT Kanpur, IIT Mumbai or any agency having specialisation in bridges and whether the government contemplates to rely upon the said report as well, before proceeding further in the matter. A statement shall be filed before this court within two weeks. The bridge may be demolished only after getting permission from this court.”

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