India’s SSS – Scaffolding, Streets, Sewers

December 26 ,  2013

Infrastructure in India
The state of Infrastructure in India

The civil engineer in me cringed at the sight of flexible bamboo scaffolding (no OSHA in India) and

Bamboo scaffolding in Kolkata
Bamboo scaffolding in Kolkata

framing, supported by a brick here and there. (How can they ever get anything level?)

Framing in Agra
Framing in Agra

I’ve heard “Hasta manana” in Latin America. But in India, it’s “Hasta next year or when we get to it.” Construction projects are seen in progress everywhere, yet it appears to take years for completion.

Under construction with exposed rebar for 2 no 3 no 4... a few years
Exposed rebar under construction for 2 no 3…  a few years

Right next door to the start of something new and only half done was prime historical architecture, forgotten and falling apart.

Kolkata building in need of restoration
Building in need of restoration

Maybe it has something to do with phased funding or, as I was told, that 5% of the population pays for infrastructure from a populous of 2% being rich beyond description and 18% middle class. The remaining 80% are too poor to pay anyhing.   But everyone pitches in to keep the temples maintained; it’s a priority.

Graffiti in Udaipur hiding India's beauty
Graffiti in Udaipur hiding India’s beauty

There’s also the problem that some potential sources of revenue have had their taxes waived which could have been used to improve India’s infrastructure.  That income stream should be analyzed, even if it means some of the foreign outsourcing companies that use cheap Indian labor need to pitch-in.

No indoor water
No indoor water

My traffic engineering eye closed after seeing a road striped for a single lane in each direction with five vehicles headed one way and two the other for a total of seven lanes in a space sufficient for two.


I’ve driven a car in North, Central and South America, Australia and New Zealand, and Europe but I would NEVER drive in India.


They’ve got trucks, buses, cars, motor bikes, tuk tuks, bicycles, rickshaws, cows, elephants, camels, and people all on the same stretch.

camel with load

Along streets with rickshaws as the mode of transportation, storm drain pipes that would keep the road from flooding, that were six feet in diameter and probably cost millions of dollars, waited for the return of funding and construction workers.

rickshaw pulled by man2

Now, just because the open sewers can be hidden under the sidewalk, it doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Yangon sewer repair

Having spent much of my life on sanitary pump and pipe line designs and cursed with a weak bladder, I have an affinity for sewers.

Guess where it goes!
Guess where it goes!

They called western-style toilets; lady’s toilets.  Otherwise they were the squat and brace yourself style; which probably helps build up the quads and stretch out the ham strings.

guesthouse toilet

Good yoga training.
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