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CM switches on LED lights
Authorities at work to minimise unlit streets

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 31: The municipal corporation celebrated the Local Self-government Day today with the inauguration of the energy-saving LED street lights between Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar (BJB) College and Samantarapur.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the project. He also inaugurated sodium vapour street lights between Master Canteen Square and Indira Gandhi Park and laid the foundation stone for 384 dwelling units for slum residents in Mandap Basti under the Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) in Chandrasekharpur.

The 200 energy-efficient street lights, which have been installed in a public-private partnership project, will save the civic body’s energy bill by up to 83 per cent. Though the city had LED street lights on two stretches on an experiment basis, today’s inauguration of the Rs 35-lakh project by Naveen begins the conversion of nearly 15,000 street lights across the city to LED in phases.

The 56 sodium vapour lights on the Master Canteen Square-Indira Gandhi Park stretch has cost Rs 20 lakh to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the slum-improvement project will cost Rs 21.51 crore.

At the flag-hoisting programme at the BMC office, housing and urban development minister Pushpendra Singhdeo said: “We are also planning to take street lighting to other areas through a programme named Bhubaneswar Capital Street Lighting Project II.”

He said projects such as sewerage, water supply, solid waste management, ring road and renovation of the natural drainage channels would be taken up to make the city a model for others to follow and also to include it in the Centre’s proposal for smart cities.

Municipal commissioner Krishan Kumar said the LED lights would be controlled through a centralised unit that will use a computerised network and dimmers could be made operational according to the lighting needs of a particular stretch. However, he explained that the centralised controlling system would be possible once all the streetlights are converted to LED within a year.

Speaking on the Bhubaneswar Capital Street Lighting Project II, the commissioner said: “Once the core area under the civic body is covered by the energy-efficient lights, the other areas on the outskirts would be covered either through PPP or own funding from the BMC. As the first phase of work will be capital-intensive because we will start from scratch, we have already employed a transaction advisor, who will tell us how to go about it.”

The maximum complaints that the BMC’s grievance redress cell receives are about street lights.

“Our electricity engineering department is working with a skeletal staff and we have requested the state government to depute more personnel,” said Kumar.

On the theme of the celebration of this year’s Local Self-government Day, the municipal commissioner said the focus would be more on the redress of people’s problems, reaching out to people through more decentralised administration by opening zonal offices and introduction of more and more information technology-based people-friendly services.

New projects, which were inaugurated today, also included a gymnasium at Kapileswar. The foundation stone for a community centre was also laid in the locality today. Earlier in the day, Mayor Ananta Narayan Jena distributed fruits among patients at the BMC hospital.

The chief minister unveiled the annual magazine of the civic body Ahwan on the occasion and gave away “Nagar Bandhu” awards to individuals who had contributed to the city’s development.

While the celebration of the Local Self-government Day went smoothly for the civic body, laying of a foundation stone for the abattoir was cancelled yesterday following protests by local residents in Gadakana. Protesters alleged that setting up of a modern slaughterhouse would pollute the area.