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Non-functioning streetlights cause problems for citizens

Shankar Bennur
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The responsibility of installing and maintaining streetlights is now with MCC

In the dark: Streetlights even in city centres are not functioning properly, creating problems for motorists as well as pedestrians. — PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM
In the dark: Streetlights even in city centres are not functioning properly, creating problems for motorists as well as pedestrians. — PHOTO: M.A. SRIRAM

People may think twice about venturing out after sundown as streetlights in many parts of Mysore city do not function.

Forget residential localities, streetlights even in city centres are not functioning properly, creating problems for motorists as well as pedestrians.

Local people feel that anti-social elements may take advantage of the situation and target lonely women.

The lack of lighting on the road may well harm the reputation of Mysore, which was listed as the fourth best destination among the top 31 places to visit in 2010 by the New York Times.

The Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Company (CESC) no longer maintains streetlights in the city, as the responsibility of installation of streetlights and maintenance has been handed over to the Mysore City Corporation (MCC).

There are about 50,000 streetlights in the city, including sodium vapour street lamps. The number of high-mast streetlights installed at circles and intersections here has gone up in recent years.

The streetlights have not been functioning properly in most parts of the city since the past two months. The reason attributed is the expiry of contract issued last year (2009-10).

The maintenance of streetlights is outsourced. The city is divided into nine zones and the maintenance of streetlights in each zone is outsourced each year.

For instance, Zone 1, which consists of about five to six municipal wards, has about 4,500 streetlights, including high-mast streetlights and sodium vapour lamps. There are 65 wards coming under the MCC and the number of streetlights is increasing with the formation of new layouts.

On an average, the corporation pays Rs. 1.25 lakh to Rs. 1.5 lakh a month to the contractor for maintenance of streetlights in each ward, according to official sources in the MCC.

Though the sources maintained that fresh tenders had been invited for outsourcing of maintenance of streetlights in all nine zones, the delay in awarding the contract has caused the problems. In some areas, streetlights are on even during the day. This causes energy loss and benefits no one.

“The corporation should take note of such lapses and ask the contractors to take corrective steps as the burden finally falls on the taxpayers,” residents of Saraswathipuram said.

Assistant Commissioner (Zone 1) Shankar told The Hindu that tenders were being awarded for the maintenance of streetlights in all nine zones. “The streetlights are maintained by advertisers on Vani Vilas Road, JLB Road and KRS Road. Barring them, the streetlights in other areas coming under the city corporation limits are maintained by contractors,” he said.

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