Patiala Municipal Corporation's (MC) failure to renew the contract for maintenance of traffic signals in last three months is not only creating problems for the commuters, but also for the traffic cops.
Due to improper maintenance, many traffic lights have become dysfunctional and are creating huge traffic problems. It's also a pain for the traffic cops, as they find it difficult to manage the heavy rush of commuters on city roads.
After ending of the contract with current firm -- LSTL private company -- three months ago, top police and MC officials had requested the firm officials to continue with the maintenance work for few more months, to which they had agreed.
However, the extension period given by the previous contractor to MC would also end soon, but the department has failed to find any contractor for the job. "The private company officials have now threatened the department to quit the work in coming days, as they had been left no way to earn income from traffic polls, sources said."
It must be mentioned that the Punjab and Haryana high court had recently issued directions to all civic bodies and asked them to ensure ban over the outdoor display advertisements on traffic signals and on the main roads.
Meanwhile, Harkiranpal Singh, superintending engineer (SE), MC said "The previous contract awarded to a firm- LSTL private company ended around three months ago and we have floated tenders three times since then. But due to changes in MC's Outdoor Advertisement Bye-Laws 2015, bidders did not take much interest in the contract."
The superintending engineer added, "We have also written a letter and requested the LSTL private company to extend their contract for some more months. We are waiting for a response, as the company yet not revert to our letter."
It has been learnt that around 55 traffic cops have been deployed at all important chowks and there are increased personnel at some of the intersections where traffic signals have gone out of order.
Officials in the corporation said the department had a total of 16 traffic light poles which were used by the company to earn income through advertisements in the past and that was their only source of income for contractor, maintaining the traffic signals. But as per new MC bylaws, the department has banned the advisements on the traffic polls as well.
Meanwhile, the revised rates for tendering, which are much higher than the previous rates, could also be a reason for not getting any bidders. The MC is now asking for Rs 3, 04,000 per month for 16 polls, besides taking the responsibility of maintaining the traffic lights from the bidders. The MC had given the same contract at Rs 34,672 seven years ago, along with the permission for advertisements on traffic lights polls.
As per the MC's policy, the contractor has to bear all the maintenance charges and electricity bills along with other expenses, while he would also be liable to pay Rs 19, 000 per month for each 16 traffic polls to the corporation. But contractor would not be allowed to advertise on traffic signals polls.