As a tribute to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 71st birth anniversary chief minister Virbhadra Singh launched Rajiv Gandhi Illuminating Scheme for Hill Town Advancement (RISHTA) - an efficient smart street lighting project- in Shimla on Thursday. With this, Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in north India to do the same. The project is LED-based and works with centralised control and monitoring system (CCMS).
The urban development department has taken up the innovative, in collaboration with Energy Efficient Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture company formed by four power sectors -National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL), Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC) and Rural Electrification Corporation (REC).
Under the scheme, the EESL will invest all the capital upfront. The investment will be paid back my municipalities over a period of seven years from energy and cost savings that accrue as a result of installation of energy efficient LED lights, operation and maintenance through highly sophisticated CCMS.
The chief minister said the scheme would be immediately launched in Shimla, Dharamsala, Sundernagar, Paonta Sahib, Hamirpur, Ghumarvin and Manali and the rest of the towns would be lighted well before March 31, 2016. He added that the system would not only improve safety conditions for vehicular traffic and pedestrians, but would be cost effective.
Singh said a total of 63,484 street light fixtures in all the urban local bodies would be replaced by LEDs to achieve 45-55% energy savings, besides savings Rs 3.20 crore per annum. The total savings within a year in terms of operation and maintenance would be `6.5 crore, he added.
Urban development and housing minister Sudhir Sharma said the state-level agreement with EESL had been signed and the remaining urban local bodies and the rest of the towns would be covered by 2015-2016.
Additional chief secretary urban development Manisha Nanda and director urban development Captain JM Pathania welcomed the chief minister and detailed them about the scheme.