Madurai

Huge scam in LED street light fitting: DYFI

Quoting a response from Madurai Corporation under the Right to Information Act, Madurai district secretary of Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) S. Karthik on Wednesday alleged a huge scam in installation of LED street lights under THE Smart City Project.

In a statement, Mr. Karthik said he received the response for specific questions on the issue after an inordinate delay of 71 days. According to the Corporation, it spent ₹30.25 crore on LED street lights out of ₹1,000 crore sanctioned for Smart City Project.

Stating that the working of 30,377 LED street lights fixed in 78 wards in the city was a different question, Mr. Karthik wondered why the urban local body chose to ignore 22 wards, mostly in newly added areas, to provide the energy-efficient lights.

While the tender was awarded to Sabari Electricals at Ambattur in Chennai, Mr. Karthik said he could not understand as to why the government chose to buy goods worth ₹30 crore from a dealer rather than directly from the manufacturer.

While the RTI response listed out LED lights of six different wattages, the rate was mentioned only for 20W category.

“The total cost of 20W lights till fitting has been given as ₹2,304.50 each. Even if it is accepted at face value, the cost of each light with fitment charge by employing two workers for a full day will not be so high,” Mr. Karthik said.

Among the total number of LED street lights, a majority of them (18,380) were of 20W. “Even if the calculation is made based on their claim, the total cost can be be only ₹4.23 crore, which could be the cost of only three-fifth of the total number of lights,” he charged.

The remaining 12,000 street lights cost the Corporation ₹26 crore, which meant that each light worked out to a cost of ₹21,666.

Stating that the smart city projects in the State were executed in the absence of an elected body, he sought re-estimation of all projects to bring out such corruption.

Madurai MP Su. Venkatesan had sought from Corporation officials ward-wise details of the LED street light work during the Smart City Advisory Panel meet that was scheduled to be held on January 18. However, Collector T. Anbalagan cancelled the meeting citing administrative reasons.

Mr. Venkatesan then expressed doubts over the expenditure on LED lighting based on the reply he received from Parliament and, hence, wanted to discuss it at the meeting.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 2:31:10 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/huge-scam-in-led-street-light-fitting-dyfi/article33983708.ece

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