With the municipal corporation (MC) failing to solve the problem of non-functional streetlights in Chandigarh, an agenda to outsource their maintenance will be placed in the coming House meeting, scheduled in the last week of July.
As per a survey conducted by the MC electricity committee four months ago, around 30% streetlights are non-functional across the city, giving a tough time to commuters and raising security concerns.
As per record of MC, in past two years, MC received nearly 3,000 complaints with regard to streetlights on helpline number — 155304 — from southern sectors (18 to 21, 32, 40 to 45 and 51).
The civic body maintains nearly 30,000 streetlights, of which nearly 14,000 are nonfunctional. One executive engineer and two sub-divisional engineers look after the maintenance of streetlights in the city.
There are 20,000 streetlights— most of them along the primary roads and not in localities— which the UT administration takes care of, but they are better maintained than the MC does.
Former chairman of the MC’s electricity committee, BJP councillor Rajesh Gupta, said, “Four months back , we conducted several surveys and found that nearly 4,000 streetlights were non-functional. We will push for privatising maintenance of streetlights as the concept is working well in Chennai.”
Nominated councillor Surinder Bahga said: “Poles of streetlights are broken, wires are hanging loose and covers of junction boxes have been stolen. This is not only spoiling the beauty and character of the city but also endangering lives of commuters besides facilitating thefts and crime in the city. We have requested the House to frame a policy to outsource the maintenance of streetlights, keeping in view the shortage of staff.”
The streetlights on the road separating Sectors 44A and 44B remain non-functional despite repairs carried out once in a while.
Sateesh Kumar Dadwal, a resident of Sector 44A, said: “I have submitted several complaints regarding the non-functional streetlights to the authorities in the past six months, but no heed has been paid yet.”
He said functional streetlights were a must in residential areas to keep criminals at bay.
Facing a similar problem in his area, general secretary of the Sector-40 MIG-1 houses welfare association SK Khosla said: “We have lodged a number of complaints with the authorities concerned but the matter was not taken seriously.”
Chief engineer Mukesh Anand, however, said: “We are not in favour of outsourcing the maintenance of streetlights. We are recruiting 20 more electricians soon to carry out the maintenance work.”
DIODE LIGHTS PROJECT A NON-STARTER
It has been more than two years since the municipal corporation paid `1 crore to the UT electricity department to install light emitting diodes (LEDs) in all streetlights at Sectors 20 to 25, 29 to 32 and 34 to 38, besides Dhanas, Maloya and Manimajra villages.
The project, however, remained a non-starter. Finally, the electrical department has decided to start a pilot project in Sector 29.
Former mayor Subhash Chawla, who had mooted the proposal in March 2013, said even as the inventors of LED were awarded last year’s Nobel prize, Chandigarh’s move to adopt the technology has made no progress.
The decision was taken after the UPA government directed a shift towards energy-efficient technology, as LEDs can reduce the electricity bill by 70%. The MC even made a provision in the 2014-15 budget for installation and maintenance of LED streetlights by a contractor.