Though the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation outsourced maintenance of streetlights, it continues to do so because the agency concerned has failed to put its act in place.
The GVMC had awarded the contract under public-private partnership mode on the lines of the Vijayawada Model to a company some time in July. The move was expected to help the corporation save Rs. 5 crore it spends in a year on maintenance of streetlights.
The corporation pays Rs.1 crore a month on power bills. If maintenance cost is added, the total expenditure comes to Rs.17 crore.
In the new arrangement, the corporation would pay only the power bills. In the 40 per cent savings the agency is confident of achieving, the agency gets to keep 37 per cent and the GVMC will get only 3 per cent.
During B. Ramanjaneyulu’s tenure as Commissioner, the contractor wanted the streetlights handed over to him in a “trim and fit” condition by redoing the wiring as he had to maintain them for seven years. However, it was rejected as it would have cost the civic body anywhere between Rs.3 crore and Rs.4 crore. Though LED lighting was mooted to save power, the proposal was dropped in view of the high capital cost involved. Sources in the GVMC said the contractor who was awarded the work had been tying up with banks to raise the investment required in a final bid to take up the work.
As months passed by without any tangible result, the corporation has issued a final notice. If the contractor fails to respond to the notice and get his act together, the GVMC may have to call for fresh tenders and appoint an agency afresh.