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540-km roads ‘only on paper’, AI helps call the bluff in Punjab | Chandigarh News


Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, in the recently concluded winter session of Vidhan Sabha, said that it has been found that 540 km roads in the state existed only on paper. The anomaly came to fore after mapping of roads by making use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The state was able to save Rs 163 crore on repair and re-carpeting of such roads.

The roads in question belonged to Punjab Mandi Board. The Mandi Board deployed AI and Geographical Interface System (GIS) to map these roads and found out that 540 km of village-link roads never existed or did not need layers of bitumen for repair.

While the Mandi Board made use of the software bought from a private company, the local bodies department of the state also used it for its municipal roads in the major cities such as Ludhiana.

“We floated a tender of major roads in Amritsar and Ludhiana. We found that 140 km road did not exist. The tender was for Rs 550 crore. When the mapping was done though software and AI, it turned out that we could save Rs 24 crore as parts of the road existed only on paper. Later, we sent a team to cross-check manually and we were able to save another Rs 76 crore. This way we were able to save Rs 100 crore in total and needed to pay only Rs 450 crore to the contractor,” said an official.

“We are floating another tender for re-carpeting for 600-km roads. We will make use of AI again,” he added.
The official added that the fraud was being done by showing the carpeted width of road more than what existed. “For instance, we have a 12-feet wide road in a city. Only 10 feet was the carpeted area. The rest was also shown as part of the carepeted road. With AI, we have been able to call the bluff,” said the official.

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Another official said that they were preparing to make use of AI in checking whether the garbage was being lifted from various sites or not. “We are in the process of setting up the AI-enabled software. We will be able to know where the garbage keeps lying. The teams concerned could be pulled up”.

Similarly, AI is also being used to check mushrooming of illegal colonies. “Usually, mushrooming of illegal structures and colonies takes place in connivance with field staff. With AI-enabled software, we will know where these colonies and structures are coming up. This is going to of great help,” the official added.





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