[Answered] UPSC Mains 2021 GS Paper 4 – Case Study 1(Q. No. 9)

An elevated corridor is being constructed to reduce traffic congestion in the capital of a particular state. You have been selected as project manager of this prestigious project on your professional competence and experience. The deadline is complete the project in next two years by 30 June, 2021, since this project is to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister before the elections are announced in the second week of July 2021. While carrying out the surprise inspection by inspecting team, minor crack was noticed in one of the piers of the elevated corridor possibly due to poor material used. You immediately informed the chief engineer and stopped further work. It was assessed by you that minimum three piers of the elevated corridor have to be demolished and reconstructed. But this process will delay the project minimum by four to six months. But the chief engineer overruled the observation of inspecting team on the ground that it was a minor crack which to not in any way impact the strength and durability of the bridge. He ordered you to overlook the observation of inspecting team and continue working with same speed and tempo. He informed you that the minister does not want any delay as he wants the Chief Minister to inaugurate the elevated corridor before the elections are declared. Also informed you that the contractor is far relative of the minister and he wants him to finish the project. He also gave you hint that your further promotion as additional chief engineer is under consideration with the ministry. However, you strongly felt that the minor crack in the pier of the elevated corridor will adversely affect the health and life of the bridge and therefore it will be very dangerous not to repair the elevated corridor. 

  1. Under the given conditions, what are the options available to you as a project manager?
  2. What are the ethical dilemmas being faced by the project manager?  
  3. What are the professional challenges likely to be faced by the project manager and his response to overcome such challenges? 
  4. What can be the consequences of overlooking the observation raised by the inspecting team? (Answer in 250 words) 

 Solution

a)options available to meas the project manager are as under:

  1. I can opt to continue with the work, as my superior, the chief engineer, has overruled the observations of the inspecting team.  
  2. I can do further survey into the problem, and bring it into the notice of the senior political leadership or the CM himself. 
  3. As I believe that the quality of the project is compromised and have made my reservations about the same clear to my superiors, I can request my transfer from the project, to avoid the responsibility in case of a contingency. 

b)Ethical dilemmafaced by the project manager are as under: 

  1. Personal interest vs public interest: Going ahead with the project will give an assured promotion, however, it could possibly put the life of many citizens into severe jeopardy. 
  2. Ends vs means: While going ahead with the project will fulfil the end of timely inauguration and my promotion, it will destroy the purity of means involved. 
  3. Cost vs quality of service.: While demolishing the three pillars will add to cost and time over run of the project, more so, when it is deemed fit by the chief engineer, continuing on the other hand will compromise the quality-of-service delivery. 
  4. Administrative ethics vs work efficiency: While for completing the project on time, the project manager will be lauded for his efficiency, it will compromise his administrative ethics. 

c)Professional challengeslikely to be faced by the manager are as under: 

  1. Pressure from superiors: As the Chief engineer as exhorted the project manager, to continue the work with same tempo. 
  2. Political pressure: As the contractor is a relative of the minister, and also, the CM intends to inaugurate the project before the elections. 
  3. Career progression: As the career prospects of the project manager are linked to the completion of the project. 
  4. Possible responsibility: In case the project fails and the bridge collapses, the project manager will be liable for a departmental/judicial enquiry. 
  5. Corruption: As the material used was of poor quality, the project manager faces the challenge of tackling corruption in his department. 

The project manager can overcome these challenges by: 

  1. Presenting a detailed report on his assessment, and sending a copy of the report each to, the CM, concerned minister, chief engineer, chief secretary and the vigilance officer of the state. 
  2. Conducting an enquiry, int the quality of the material used, and sending a show cause notice to the concerned persons in case of an anomaly. 
  3. Involving a third party, for conducting an independent survey on the fitness/health of the corridor. 

d) Theconsequences of overlooking the observationsof the inspecting team could be: 

  1. The corridor might collapse, which could cause a severe damage to the life/limbs and property of the citizens. 
  2. The collapse will come at a bigger cost and time over run in the project, as the whole project will have to be started afresh. 
  3. The failure of the project will bring a bad name both to the department and to the political leadership of the state. 
  4. Overlooking the observations of the inspecting team, will also mean going easy on the issue of poor quality of material used in the project. 
  5. It will also have the consequence of promoting nepotism in the working of government project.  

 

 

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