No light at the end of tunnel?


Several poorly-lit stretches of city put question mark over GHMC’s claims of 98% illumination

Non-functioning LED street lights have been a bitter complaint heard from several localities across the city, and both GHMC authorities and the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) are clueless about the reasons because operation of the lights is in the hands of neither.

GHMC, in collaboration with EESL, claims to have replaced a total of 4,42,343 sodium vapour lamps in the city with LED bulbs so far. Owing to this, the corporation could save up to 120 million units of power in a year, and more than ₹80 crore in power bill. Calculated from July 2017, when the project began, the savings amount to over 260 million units, and up to ₹185 crore in bills.

However, citizens’ activists such as Harish Daga say with certainty that a considerable portion of these savings are due to non-functional street lights. “On any given day, I can show you LED lights not functioning on several stretches. The claim of 98% illumination is a lie,” Mr. Daga, who has been doggedly pursuing GHMC and EESL authorities over street light functionality, says emphatically.

On several stretches, the lights glow during the day and go blank once the sun sets. This is more pronounced in the Central Zone, he says. Road No. 45, Road No. 1, Road No. 10, from Nagarjuna Circle to TV9 office, Himayatnagar, Mint Compound and NTR Marg are a few stretches where LED lights are found not glowing. These apart, close to 8,000 lamps have been recently handed over to GHMC for maintenance, from HMDA and HMRL, none of which is functioning. The stretch between Kachiguda Crossroads and MGBS is an example.

Though contractors offer all sorts of excuses, including shortage of timers and lack of power connection, the actual issue is lack of monitoring, Mr. Daga says. The centralised monitoring is compromised and its operation has not been handed over to GHMC yet. “Watchmen are paid to operate the lights manually, as timers have conked out. And in certain areas, bulbs are stolen from the poles,” he says.

Deficit in lamp stock

As against 6% to 15% excess stock when the city’s lighting was in GHMC’s control, there is now 20% deficit in the stock of LED lamps, sources from the corporation claim.

Though the agreement for LED lights has been between GHMC and EESL, the job has been given out to IL&FS, which in turn, sub-contracted the installation to 32 agencies, and maintenance to four. As per the account of GHMC officials, quality of the LED bulbs installed is suspect too. Several of them burnt out within a year, as against the claimed life of at least 10 years. Besides, they are dogged by several technical glitches such as non-functional clocks and dated communication technology.

EESL is responsible for replacing the bulbs up to seven years, and even after that, GHMC will have to outsource the maintenance, as the corporation’s street light wing has been disbanded. This leaves the city residents with no light at the end of the tunnel.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 1:54:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/no-light-at-the-end-of-tunnel/article30562116.ece

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