Making headlines for more than a year, the Queen’s Necklace will finally get back its “golden glow” within a few days.
The old sodium vapour lamps were replaced with white LEDs in January 2015, leading to a tussle between the Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray had said the project was initiated without taking the approval of Sena corporators. After the Bombay high court (HC) issued an order to replace the white LEDs with yellow ones, Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the company contracted to change the lights, conducted an experiment with yellow LEDs.
While 250 white lights have been replaced with yellow LEDs, officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) said the remaining 600 lamps will be replaced by January 31.
The move comes after the Shiv Sena wrote to municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta to replace the white LED lights at the iconic Marine Drive with yellow ones by Republic Day. Avkash Jadhav, Sena’s nominated councilor, said, “I have been following up on the issue for a year now. The attempt to get the Queen’s Necklace back is gaining momentum and I am happy to see that.”
“We will surely replace all the lights by the end of this month,” said Deepak Kokate, regional manager, EESL.
The official said since the EESL works on a model where they cover their expenditure through power-saving, the BMC has not spent anything in the installation and re-installation of LED lights at Marine Drive.
Mahendra Hemdev, a resident and member of the Marine Drive Residents’ Association, said, “It is a win-win for everybody as the money saved because of LEDs can be used for better purposes.”
The LED tussle
The civic body decided to install LED lights across the city, starting with Marine Drive as a pilot project in January 2015, after Union power minister Piyush Goyal met former municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte. The project was contracted to EESL, which replaced the 600-odd lamps
January 2015: The old sodium vapour lamps were replaced with white LED lights on a pilot basis. Soon, the Sena shot off a letter to the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) that the lights in the heritage precinct were replaced without an approval from the heritage panel. Senior Sena leaders and Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray took to Twitter, saying the white lights have taken away the charm
March 2015: The Sena raised a point of order in the general body meeting of the civic body, which resulted in a war of words between the two ruling parties in the BMC. The BJP leaders said they had replaced the golden glow with a “platinum necklace.”
July 2015: MHCC wrote to the BMC chief, asking him to consider bringing back the golden glow of the Queen’s necklace by installing yellow LEDs.
August 2015: The Bombay high court (HC) directed the state government to get yellow LED lights for Marine Drive. The BMC, however, failed to restore them by August 15, the set deadline. The directive followed an earlier observation from the HC.
January 2016: Sena’s nominated councillor, Avkash Jadhav, who had been pursuing the issue, wrote to o municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta, asking him to replace the lights by January 26.