Tender of LED street lights project to be cancelled

The project, estimated to cost ₹560 crore, was to be completed by 2021.   | Photo Credit: K_MURALI_KUMAR

In 2018, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) announced its ambitious plan to replace the city’s 4.8 lakh street lights with energy-efficient ones, but with the project yet to take off, the civic body’s patience is wearing thin.

BBMP Commissioner B.H. Anil Kumar told The Hindu that they would recommend to the State government to cancel the global tender that had been awarded to a company.

The project, estimated to cost ₹560 crore, was to be completed by 2021. The International Financial Corporation, a sister concern of the World Bank, is the transactional advisor for the project.

According to civic officials, by now, the company should have started the process of replacing the existing installations with LED lights. However, the company is reportedly yet to complete financial closure.

“We had earlier warned the company that action would be taken if there were further delays. Since we have not received any proactive response from them, we will be recommending to the State government to cancel the tender,” said Mr. Anil Kumar.

The project was conceived to reduce the BBMP’s expenditure on electricity. The civic body currently spends an average of ₹12 crore a month to power street lights. Once the existing lighting fixtures are replaced with LED, the bills may come down by at least ₹4 crore.

“It was to be a win-win for the BBMP, as we will not be spending on capital investment, and we will be paying less towards electricity charges. The company will recover the capital investment from the energy savings, and pay the rest to the BBMP,” an official said.

Meanwhile, Residents’ Welfare Associations across neighbourhoods have been fighting for better lighting, especially in smaller lanes and by-lanes.

“On busy streets, we depend on commercial establishments to light the pavements, which have either been dug up or filled with construction debris. But many of the narrow residential lanes in my area have inadequate lighting. We have to depend on lights of nearby buildings, which is not enough,” said a resident of Fraser Town.

Several councillors have also alleged that they are unable to make improvements on account of the LED project. During a council meeting in January, councillors sought to know the status of the project. They claimed that the BBMP was not allowing them to install LED lights and that electrical contractors are refusing to repair the defunct ones because of which several stretches across the city are plunged in darkness.

Mr. Anil Kumar replied proposals from councillors to convert existing lights to LED street lights, to be taken up under the 14th Finance Commission, were being approved.

Meanwhile, a chartered engineering firm has been entrusted with the job of conducting a baseline assessment of the existing street lights, and identifying areas that require more lighting.

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Printable version | Jun 12, 2021 8:13:14 PM |

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