Street lighting is one of the amenities hit hard by continuing power shortage with several interior areas of Kochi plunging into darkness during peak hours between 6 and 10 p.m.

With Christmas and New Year festivities round the corner, West Kochiites were the most worried, said councillor Antony Kureethara, Fort Kochi. He said the corporation needed to get its act together to ensure proper lighting of the West Kochi streets in the coming days.

Fort Kochi is home to the annual New Year carnival and celebrations linked to Christmas. Mr. Kureethara said the shortage of power had added to the problem of the already insufficient lighting as he called for at least 100 more lamps in his division ahead of the festivities.

Sodium vapour lamps, which constitute two-thirds of the nearly 34,000 public lamps in the main city area, work even under low voltage. However, tube lights draw more power and do not light up during the peak hours.

Sodium vapour lamps line the arterial roads like MG Road, Chittoor Road, SA Road etc and lighting is no problem in these stretches during the peak hours. However, interior areas, which are lighted by tubes, plunge into darkness during the peak hours.

By a rough estimate there are around 150 tube lights per division in the eastern part of the city, said K. I. Chandramohan, contractor for the area. The eastern part of Kochi accounts for 46 divisions of the total 74 in the entire corporation area.

Works Standing Committee Chairman of the Corporation of Cochin Soumini Jain said the corporation authority wanted to switch to LED systems at the earliest to overcome the problem posed by the shortage of power and the peak-hour low voltage.

However, the cost factor was holding up the programme for installing LED systems. The decision to go LED was taken nearly seven months ago but decisions have continued to lag at the top level, alleged councillor from Fort Kochi Antony Kureethara.

He said the corporation needed to get its act together ahead of the festivities in West Kochi during Christmas and New Year.

Ms. Jain said the corporation had been allotted 100 LED systems by the State government. These lights would be installed in a single stretch to test difference in the lighting effect. As per a recent decision, the Town Planning Department will install the 100 LED systems on the stretch between the Mattancherry BOT Bridge and Vikrant Bridge.

Installing the LED systems will also save a lot of money for the Corporation, which now coughs up nearly Rs. one crore a month in street lighting bills.

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