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Bright white idea for dark streets

The city would soon be bathed in hues of white — green actually.

The urban development and housing department has revived its plan under which some of the existing streetlights would be replaced with LEDs.

LEDs or light-emitting diodes are environment-friendly and also use less power to illuminate roads and streets.

In a talk with The Telegraph, urban development and housing department minister Samrat Choudhary said 1,100 points or electric poles would come up in six months’ time.

At present, the department is finalising these spots based on locations and their importance after which the project would be taken forward to the cabinet co-ordination committee for an approval by early next month.

“There are many spots in the city, which remain dark with the streetlights being defunct. Some agencies like Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC), Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam and others look after the maintenance of streetslights. However, the work is not done in a proper way owing to the agencies’ problems. The department will try and solve this issue by giving maintenance work to private parties. The plan had been moved earlier but then owing to some issues, the tendering process had to be cancelled. Now, the department would revive it. We hope to complete it in the city within six months,” the minister said.

The minister said the details of the project were being discussed at present.

“Though talks are on, the department wants to ensure that the LEDs emit proper light and things are visible on the road for commuters. It would be in the form of halogen bulbs. At one point of the pole, there could be two or more lights. According to the new plan, maintenance of these lights will not be given to any government agency,” Samrat added.

A 120 watt of LED light in a halogen or a tube form costs around Rs 65,000 to Rs 70,000 per bulb or tube. The prices differ for different companies.

“Each of these poles will have a space, which can be in the form of a small illuminated board on the top, for advertisements. The poles will be given to interested parties and they can advertise their products on it. However, the company or firm that will take on the poles for their advertising will have to make sure that they maintain these lights. The department will assist them in the process but upkeep will be their job. The finer details will be properly discussed and finalised soon. The details in connection with the voltage to be used, the points where they will be coming up and others will be decided soon,” the minister said.

Apart from defunct traffic lights in many places, streetlights along Bailey Road, Boring Road, Boring Canal Road and others do not work.

“Though I don’t have facts and figures now, there are some roads on which maintenance of traffic lights is the responsibility of the PMC. Bihar Rajya Pul Nirman Nigam maintains the lights, mainly over flyovers and bridges. The work of maintaining lights is not being done properly because we are short staffed. However, the PMC is trying to solve the issue somehow,” a civic official said.

The minister said once the work in Patna was complete, other districts would also be looked into.

“There were plans to come up with LED lights in other districts too. But that too didn’t take off. First, we want to start off with Patna and once things are done, other districts would follow. There will be a tendering process once the final project detail is made,” Samrat said.

Residents naturally are excited but a bit apprehensive as well.

“The LED lights are better than normal yellow vapour bulbs. They emit bright white light and hence streets are more visible. These function for a longer time. However, the implementation and maintenance have to be spot on. Patna seems to be among the few cities where streetlights and the high-mast lights do not work,” said Satish Kumar Sinha, a resident of Kadamkuan.


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