One-fifth of complaints a day pertain to faulty lights
The Chennai Corporation will kick-start a programme to improve street lighting in the city through privatisation of maintenance operations.
The temporary arrangement will be in place till January, after which newly-recruited permanent employees are expected to shoulder the responsibility.
The civic body will call for short-term tenders next week to rope in private contractors for repair and maintenance of the streetlights.
Based on complaints by residents, the team of technicians associated with the private operator will rush to the locality within the stipulated time of two hours and replace defunct tubelights or mercury vapour lamps or other electrical equipment.
The civic body will ensure better quality control through strict monitoring, with provision for testing of the lamps in laboratory conditions. The plan for laboratory testing is likely to deter the private contractors from using inferior fittings for the repair work.
The team of private contractors will carry out maintenance or repairs along with existing employees of the Chennai Corporation.
The initiative is expected to bring down the percentage of ‘not-burning’ streetlights in many added areas. The city is illuminated by over 2.2 lakh streetlights. After expansion, the Chennai Corporation was able to bring down the percentage of not-burning streetlights in the eight added zones to around 5 per cent.
However, challenges including pilferage and shortage of manpower continue to cause problem in such areas.
Even though many roads in the old city limits have relatively better illumination with a very low percentage of ‘not-burning’ streetlights, residents of many wards that were earlier part of panchayats continue to report ‘not-burning’ streetlights.
One-fifth of the complaints reported by residents in a day through the toll-free helpline 1913 and 15 zonal offices pertain to such ‘not-burning’ streetlights.
Action on complaints made by residents of added zones is likely to be quick after the tenders for the privatisation of maintenance is finalised.