30% LED streetlights not working, Chandigarh MC goes light on firm awarded contract

Having missed the first deadline of August 2017, the firm had assured the MC House at a meeting in September last year that all streetlights will be functional by Diwali. But the deadline was extended to December 31, and again to April 30 this year.

punjab Updated: Feb 05, 2018 12:14 IST
Hillary Victor
Hillary Victor
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
LED streetlights,streetlights not working,Chandigarh Municipal Corporation
Commuters moving in pitch dark in the absence of functional streetlights at a service lane in Sector 43 in Chandigarh. (Sikander Singh/HT)

Even as the contractor allotted the work to replace 48,000 streetlights in the city with long-lasting light-emitting diode (LED) lights has missed two deadlines, the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation (MC) has failed to penalise the agency.

The firm, Energy Efficient Service Limited, was awarded the contract in February 2017, during the tenure of former mayor Asha Kumari Jaswal, to replace the streetlights within six months.

One year later, the firm has managed to replace only 39,000 streetlights. Worse, 30% of the lights, located in southern sectors, are not working. According to the indenture, MC can penalise the agency for delay in executing the work. But, let alone a penalty, senior civic body officials have granted three extensions to the firm.

As per the contract, the firm was to also set up a Centralised Computing Centre Management System (CCMS) at the MC building in Sector 17.

Some of worst-affected areas are Sectors 38 ( West), 40, 61, 62, Modern Housing Complex, Manimajra, Ram Darbar, Phase 2, Sector 49 and 50, and various villages and colonies.

At the last MC House meeting on January 30, several councillors had complained of the streetlights in their wards not working, and that residents did not know where to lodge complaints. Superintending engineer NP Sharma had suggested that complaints can be lodged with the MC, even as the contract mandates that the firm maintain the lights for seven years.

Having missed the first deadline of August 2017, the firm had assured the MC House at a meeting in September last year that all streetlights will be functional by Diwali. But the deadline was extended to December 31, and again to April 30 this year.

Significantly, the corporation has not maintained records of any breach in the terms and conditions of the agreement, under which the MC will pay the firm for energy saved through LED lights for seven years after their installation. Former executive engineer (electrical) RS Randhawa wrote several letters to the company last year complaining of its departure from the contract. The letters also mentioned the complaints about the non-functional LED lights.

Ajay Raj, deputy general manager (technical), Energy Efficiency Services Limited, said, “We have instructions from the headquarters to not talk to the media.”

Agency fails to set up CCMS centre

As per the contract, the firm was to also set up a Centralised Computing Centre Management System (CCMS) at the MC building in Sector 17.

The centre was meant to monitor and control the LED lights. At the last meeting held to discuss the matter in December last year, executive engineer Kuldeep Singh had said the centre will be set up by January 2018, but it has yet to see the light of the day.

First Published: Feb 05, 2018 12:14 IST