Bridges signal mayday; upgrade maintenance
Mains Paper: 3 | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
Prelims level: Reinforced concrete structures (RCC)
Mains level: Improving the India’s infrastructure.
• There’s an urgent need to systematically and thoroughly fill up gaps in bridge maintenance and renewal nationwide.
• The recent bridge collapse in south Kolkata, and reports that seven other bridges in the city have been identified as ‘most vulnerable’, do call for prompt institutional revamp and close oversight.
• This is identify structurally deficient bridges, especially those in dense urban centres with speedily rising vehicular traffic, and better allocates resources for the specific and express purpose of repair and replacement.
• All reinforced concrete (RCC) structures, including bridges, are prone to corrosive deterioration; in the last few months, there have been large-scale bridge failures in Genoa, Italy and Florida, in the US, among other places.
Challenges for infrastructure development
• It is a known fact that under hot and humid conditions, the build-up of internal pressure can reduce concrete stiffness and strength, particularly in bridges with huge moving loads on their decks.
• Hence the pressing need for efficient maintenance, which calls for proper identification of the problem and prompt followthrough action.
• It is a fact that behind schedule bridge maintenance is par for the course in even the best resource-endowed economies.
Comparison of India’s infrastructures with other countries
• In the US, for example, almost 10% of bridges were found to be structurally deficient in 2016.
• In India, many bridges are now half a century or even a century old, and what’s needed is methodical earmarking of funds for rehabilitation, strengthening and overhaul.
• The resource allocation for bridge maintenance needs to be explored and acted upon.
• It is possible that state public works departments can often be lax when it comes to maintaining and replacing bridges, for want of budgetary funds.
• In such instances, public-private partnerships need to be duly formalised.
• There’s also a parallel need for central oversight for bridge maintenance.
• Modern satellite systems can now monitor bridge deformations down to the millimetre level in real time.
• The use of such systems for bridge monitoring must be made routine. We must leverage our satellite expertise to better maintain bridges pan-India and beyond.
UPSC Prelims Questions:
Q.1) With respect to National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), consider the following statements:
1. It is a fund created to maximize infrastructure development in Greenfield project only.
2. It will be funded through disinvestment proceeds of Central Public Sector Enterprises.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
UPSC Mains Questions:
Q.1) How India can revive their old infrastructure? And what are the challenges?