Q10. You are working as an executive engineer in the construction cell of a municipal corporation, and are presently in-charge of the construction of a flyover. There are two junior engineers under you who have the responsibility of day-to-day inspection of the site and are reporting to you, while you are finally reporting to the chief engineer who heads the cell. While the construction is heading towards completion, the junior engineers have been regularly reporting that all construction is taking place as per design specifications. However, in one of your surprise inspections, you have noticed some serious deviations and lacunae which, in your opinion, are likely to affect the safety of the flyover. Rectification of these lacunae at this stage would require a substantial amount of demolition and rework which will cause tangible loss to the contractor, and will also delay completion.
There is a lot of public pressure on the corporation to get this construction completed because of heavy traffic congestion in the area. When you brought this matter to the notice of the chief engineer, he advised you that in his opinion it is not a very serious lapse, and that it may be ignored. He advised to further expedite the project for completion in time. However, you are convinced that this is a serious matter which might affect public safety and should not be left unaddressed.
What will you do in such a situation? Some of the options are given below. Evaluate the merits and demerits of each of these options and finally suggest what course of action you would like to take, giving reasons.
(i) Follow the advice of the chief engineer and go ahead.
(ii) Make an exhaustive report of the situation bringing out all facts and analysis along with your own viewpoints stated clearly and seek for written orders from the chief engineer.
(iii) Call for explanation from the junior engineers and issue orders to the contractor for necessary correction within targeted time.
(iv) Highlight the issue so that it reaches superiors above the chief engineer.
(v) Considering the rigid attitude of the chief engineer, seek transfer from the project or report sick. (250 words; 20 marks)
The merit and demerits of different options are as follows:
(i) If he follows the advice of the chief engineer, the project would get completed on time and there will be no public outcry over the delay. However, if the flyover collapses in future, many people may lose their lives and he shall be held responsible for the lapse.
(ii) In case the chief engineer gives a clear-cut advice, the executive engineer must follow such a written advice. However, it is also possible that the chief engineer may order enquiry for the lapse against the executive engineer, which may lead to his suspension for dereliction of duty followed by the disciplinary action.
(iii) The contractor may not agree for the necessary correction due to additional expenses. The enquiry of junior engineers may delay the project. However, this will solve the problem and ensure that the flyover is safe and made according to the specifications.
(iv) It is possible that the superior officer may accept your report and inform his boss for delaying the project in the public interest. However, sending a report to the higher-level bypassing immediate superior is an act of indiscipline that may invite disciplinary action.
(v) If you seek transfer or report sick, you may get temporary reprieve from the problem. However, you may lose the opportunity to correct the problem.
The executive engineer is in-charge of the construction of a flyover and he has to take the responsibility for the job. Based on the merits and demerits of each option, the option (iii) is the best option. (261 words)