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Old 03-21-2015, 10:54 AM
Joe21 Joe21 is offline
MR Perfidity - Clemson Insider
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Clemson, SC
Posts: 4,923
Default Round Holes & Square Covers

Following my retirement here in the states I was associated with Fort/AIC Consultants. In 1992 & 93 we had a contract with the Cotton Export Corp. in Pakistan. There were three of us Americans, an economist and two engineers. Our work took us over much of the country but our main office was in Karachi. The Metropole Hotel, an old but comfortable hotel, was our home away from home. The hotel was located in the heart of the city and about four blocks from our offices. This will set the stage for the following story.

I regret not saving the article that appeared in the Karachi newspaper. The account was hilarious.

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Metal manhole covers in Karachi were a prime target for thieves. Few, if any, covers were in place during my stay there. Most manholes were in the sidewalks but there were also some in the streets. Usually the manholes in the sidewalks with missing covers had tree limbs, bamboo stalks or some other object placed in them to warn pedestrians of possible danger.

Motorists were not so lucky. There was nothing to indicate an open manhole. Those motorists who traveled the same route on a regular basis were aware of the open manholes and knew how to avoid them. But woe to the motorist who was not aware of the danger. Seeing an automobile with a wheel stuck in the open manhole was a common everyday sight. Some vehicles suffered severe damages.

In the spring of 1993, Karachi was playing host to the political leaders from throughout the Arab nations. The city was undergoing a major clean-up to impress the visiting dignitaries. One of the projects was to replace the manhole covers. Rather than replacing the missing covers with new metal covers, the new covers were to be made of concrete.

One day as the other engineer and I were leaving our offices and returning to the hotel, we noticed that new concrete covers had been delivered to each manhole. At most of the sites of the manholes were several Pakistanis talking and laughing. Although we could not understand there language, we knew why they were laughing. At each round manhole was a new concrete manhole cover but the new cover was square.

The square covers remained near the manholes for a couple of days and became a hot conversation topic as well as a laughing matter directed at those responsible for this comedy of errors. Eventually the square covers were removed and round ones delivered and properly installed.
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