Installing high-mast lights in well-lit areas flayed

High mast lights like these at Katrikadavu abound while innumerable junctions remain ill-lit in Kochi.

High mast lights like these at Katrikadavu abound while innumerable junctions remain ill-lit in Kochi.

With high-mast lights, which entail prohibitive capital and operational expense, being installed even at locations where alternative lighting is available, the Kochi Corporation has decided to curb the practice.

“Often times, these lights, each of which cost approximately ₹5 lakh, are installed at places which already have functional high-mast or regular lights. These lights adorn even narrow roads which are just wide enough for two-wheelers. This practice cannot be allowed to continue, especially so since the Corporation ought to set apart around ₹27 crore for the power bill of street lights,” said Sunitha Dixon, the chairperson of the civic body’s Standing Committee for Public Works.

Citing an example, she said a high-mast light was put up over a year ago beneath the metro corridor at Champakkara at a place which was already well-lit. It has been decided to relocate it to an ill-lit bus stop at Vyttila Junction. Ultimately, the Kochi Corporation would end up paying the power bill of all street lights and it also has to find additional funds to maintain them.

Referring to contractors, entrusted with the upkeep of street lights, often submitting prohibitively high financial estimates, Ms. Dixon said this would end shortly since the civic agency’s technical advisory group (TAG) has been vested with the responsibility.

This would also curb corrupt practices. The group could also vet proposals for high-mast lights, to avoid unnecessary expenditure on their capital and maintenance, she said.

There are places like Kathrikadavu, where high-mast lights put up using MP/MLA fund co-exist with those of the Kochi Corporation. This is wastage of public funds, said K.S. Dileep Kumar, president of Ernakulam Vikasana Samity.

The chairman of the city committee of Ernakulam District Residents Associations’ Apex Council, D.G. Suresh, said there are innumerable ill-lit and accident-prone junctions in the city, which need high-mast lights. “This is in contrast with places where they are set up unnecessarily, solely with the aim of garnering votes. Residents’ associations and others must be heard while installing them,” he said.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 1:00:59 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/installing-high-mast-lights-in-well-lit-areas-flayed/article38326277.ece