Barring the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), representatives of all other parties unanimously demanded the removal of the light-emitting diode (LED) lights that have been installed at Marine Drive under directives from the Centre, at the committee meeting of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) on Wednesday.
Shiv Sena, the ruling party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) even staged a walkout over the issue. The committee members opposed the abrupt decision of the undertaking to replace the high-pressure sodium lamps with LED lights without consulting the committee members.
In January, the BJP-led state government installed LED lights in the city, bypassing the BMC, inviting the ire of Yuva Sena president Aaditya Thackeray. Many residents of Marine Drive also signed a petition against the LED lamps, complaining the stretch was poorly illuminated.
“The installation of LEDs has not been beneficial for anyone. The central government has infringed on the BMC’s authority to provide sufficient street lighting to citizens. These LED lights should be replaced immediately with the earlier high-pressure sodium lamps,” said Suhas Saman, Shiv Sena. “The Union government should extend help to BEST so it runs smoothly, instead of getting involved in smaller issues such as street lighting,” said Yakub Memon from the Samajwadi Party.
MNS and Congress corporators also demanded removal of the LED lamps. BJP’s Akash Purohit, however, insisted on their retention, asking only for the colour to be changed to yellow from the existing white. “The LED lights save power, and it is the need of the hour to do so. We should retain the LED lights, but change their colour to yellow,” said Purohit.
BEST chairman Arun Dudwadkar said, “The BEST has been directed to restore the old sodium lamps on Marine Drive. If at all the Centre wants to install LED lights on experimental basis, it should be done elsewhere, and with the BMC’s permission.”
Jagdish Patil, BEST general manager, said, “The BEST members have demanded removal of the LED lights. This demand will be relayed to the BMC for its remarks.”
The move was inspired by PM Narendra Modi’s announcement on January 5 of covering 100 cities with energy-saving LED lighting.
As per the BMC’s plan, around 1.32 lakh streetlights in Mumbai will soon be replaced with LED lights
A pilot project is being planned for Colaba, Bandra and Mulund. There are plans to cover the entire city with LED lights over the next nine months.