Doubts over PMC’s award winning scheme
No information about number of street lights when the contract was awarded
PUNE: Congress Corporator Avinash Bagwe has raised doubts about the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC)’s Pune Street Lighting project, which won the Best Practices Award to ‘Improve the living environment in 2017-18’ given by Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO). The corporator has alleged that the PMC and the private company that was awarded the contract are hand in glove. This project includes replacement of 77,800 conventional street lights with energy efficient LED lights and existing manual-based feeder panels with SCADA-based energy monitor and control panels.
Bagwe submitted a question about the project during the General Body meeting in June. He sought information about the number of working and non-working LED street lights that existed before the PMC granted the contract to a private company to install SCADA-based energy monitor and control panels.
Responding to the query submitted by Bagwe, the civic body made the startling revelation that it did not have information about number of working and non-working lights when the contract was awarded to a private company to replace conventional street lights with LEDs in 2014.
The Electrical Department responded that they do not have such information and claimed they do not have categorisation of street lights so it is difficult for them to share information about the same.
Recently, after the controversy arose, the PMC took the decision to appoint a third party to check the claim made by a private company, that it has replaced 85,385 street lights with LEDs.
Bagwe said, “The corporation has not given information about LED lights (working and non-working). They do not have information about whether SCADA system is working or not. There is a suspicion regarding implementation of this system for which civic body received the best award. It is really unfortunate.”
He added, “I believe the administration and the private company officials are hand in glove considering the civic body did not maintain a record of total operational street lights before the contract was awarded to the private company.” He added that the company claimed that it replaced 85,358 lights and the civic body has no other option but to believe it as they did not keep this record in the first place. He lashed out at civic administration saying that it is improper use of public money.
Meanwhile, the Electrical Department claimed they saved Rs 5 crore compared to last year’s electrical bills of street lights. In 2017-18, the corporation paid Rs 34.52 crore towards electricity bill, while this year, the PMC paid Rs 29.04 crore.
As per the project proposal, the illumination of LED lights would be controlled as per the vehicle and pedestrian population on the road. Sensors will be fitted to the streetlight poles to control the same. When there are fewer road users, the brightness will be reduced and vice versa. During the early hours of the day, the light will be kept at a lower intensity, as the usage of roads is less compared to evenings and late evenings. This would be controlled from a specialised control room, officials said.