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Roadmap to dispel dark
- Code index for lamp posts, toll-free helpline to lodge complaints

A three-step action plan, covering marking to maintenance, is being scripted to keep the streets of the city alight.

In a bid to ensure that no thoroughfare remains dark, the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) is drawing up the following measures for the 1.2 lakh streetlights it owns in town:

4Each lamp post to have a code number

A 24x7 toll-free helpline to receive complaints about unlit streetlights

A standard norm of series connection for all streetlights to minimise blackout.

This follows a Metro campaign highlighting how some of the busiest ' and speediest ' streets around town had no lights for days, weeks or even months. The 'let there be light' series drew attention to several stretches around town (see graphic). A few stretches were promptly lit up, but so many more remained dark and dangerous.

And now, the CMC, which owns 96 per cent of the lamp posts in the city, has decided to draw up a strategy to ensure that driving in the dark is no longer the norm.

Acting on mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya's directive, municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay will meet engineers of the civic electrical department this week.

The objective will be to ensure that faulty street lights maintained by the CMC are repaired 'within no more than 30 hours' of a complaint being lodged, on weekdays.

Even if the faulty lamp post belongs to another agency ' say, PWD or HRBC ' it will be the duty of the assistant engineer (lighting) of the area to work the system and ensure timely repair.

The first step will be to devise an appropriate system of coding. 'Each of the 1.2 lakh CMC lamp posts will have a code number to determine ward number and specific location,' said mayoral council member (lighting) Sushil Kumar Sharma, who will preside over the crucial meeting.

Then, a toll-free fault booking system will be made available for complaints to be lodged, complete with the code number on the lamp post, to spur prompt action.

'We will also convene a meeting with the electrical engineers of other agencies to set up a standard norm of series connections for street lights,' revealed Sharma.

While the series connection in the CMC lamp posts is limited to four, those maintained by other agencies often include up to 16 lamp posts in a series. So, if one light develops a fault, 16 go on the blink.

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