Case Study 2018-1

Actors in the case: I as chief executive engineer
                              Two junior engineers
                              Chief-engineer
                              People pressuring for early completion of project
Following the advice of chief-engineer: 
Merits

  • Timely completion of the project.
  • No loss to the contractor.
  • Early easing of traffic congestion.
  • Tackling of people’s pressure.
  • No Friction in relationship with colleagues

Demerits

  • Compromise of the safety may lead to intangible loss to both economic and life.
  • Against work ethics as following chief engineers advice may lead to lapses on the part of my work.

Make an exhaustive report of the situation bringing out all facts and analysis along with your own viewpoints stated clearly and seeks for written orders from the chief Engineer.
Merits

  • Upholding work ethics as the detailed report clearly put forward my point of view.
  • Preventing any intangible losses which otherwise could have occurred due to lapses in the construction of the project.
  • Detailed report will aid with the root cause analysis aiding in identify the lapses and fixing of responsibility.

Demerits

  • Questions about lapses on my part as Chief executive engineer to identify lapses at an early stage.
  • May face ire of chief-engineer for not letting off the issue to forego.
  • Bad name to the corporation due to resultant delays as the report may lead to corrective actions.
  • Economic loss to the contractor
  • Findings pinpointing at failure on part of junior engineers to report the issue may affect my relationship with them.

Call for explanation from the Junior Engineers and issue orders to the contractor for necessary correction within targeted time.
Merits

  • It would be a first step in arriving at the identification of the events which led to lapses.
  • Necessary correction will prevent any possible human disasters in future.
  • Fulfilling my responsibility as chief executive engineer to ensure sound quality of the construction.
  • Order may bring issue into limelight and even the chief engineer would be forced to relook at the issues of lapses.

Demerits

  • Delay in completion of the project.
  • Wrath of the people against the corporation for the delay.
  • Economic losses to the contractor.
  • Troubled relationship with both chief engineer and junior engineer.

Highlight the issue so that it reaches superiors above the Chief Engineer.
Merits

  • Acting as a whistleblower to protect the interest of municipality and further people in large.
  • Effective investigation would be ordered which will aid in taking issue to the logical end.
  • The chief engineer would reconsider the issue and stand with my findings.
  • Will aid in upholding my professional ethics.
  • Preventing any possible disasters leading to saving of numerous lives.

Demerits

  • Foregoing hierarchy is against the institutional ethics.
  • Wrath of the chief-engineer for going against his directives.
  • Possible delays in project affecting the credibility of the corporation.
  • Chances of chief engineer becoming a scapegoat.

Considering the rigid attitude of the Chief Engineer, seek transfer from the project or report sick.
Merits

  • Will absolve me from any responsibility for future disasters.
  • No impact on my professional relationships.
  • Project going on smoothly for inauguration.

Demerits

  • It will show lack of courage on my part for upholding the things which I feel are right.
  • My conscience will haunt me for lifetime for being indirectly responsible for intangible loss to life and property.
  • Failure on my part to discharge my official responsibilities.

My Course of action:

  • Satisfy myself with the gravity of the situation and yje seriousness of lapses.
  • Conducting a preliminary enquiry.
  • Submitting the findings of the preliminary enquiry in writing to the chief engineer.
  • Ask the junior engineers and contractor to put officially on what led to lapses.
  • Satisfied with lapses and even after that if chief engineer continues with the lax attitude will get the issue to the notice of higher officials with a detailed report.
  • Explore the possibility of black-listing the contractor for the lapses.

Probity in governance is an important characteristic. Corruption resulting in compromise of the structure not only causes damage to life and property, the emotional trauma of the people who lost their near and dear ones will be intangible.
As a chief-executive engineer I will stand up to the situation to address any possible disasters by exploring various institutional mechanisms.
If the institutional mechanisms don’t deliver, as a last resort may even think of acting as a whistleblower in the larger interests of humanity.

Question for UPSC Mains:
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 today 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 a 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 may be ignored. He advised for further expediting the project for completion in time. However, you are convinced that this was 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.
  1. Follow the advice of the Chief Engineer and go ahead.
  2. Make an exhaustive report of the situation bringing out all facts and analysis along with your own viewpoints stated clearly and seeks for written orders from the chief Engineer.
  3. Call for explanation from the Junior Engineers and issue orders to the contractor for necessary correction within targeted time.
  4. Highlight the issue so that it reaches superiors above the Chief Engineer.
  5. Considering the rigid attitude of the Chief Engineer, seek transfer from the project or report sick.

Published: April 2, 2018 | Modified:April 2, 2018

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