| The lamps at Gandhi Maidan in Patna that have not glowed during the day. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) on Wednesday kept its promise and issued executive orders, asking electricians in different administrative circles of the civic body to supervise street lamps and high-mast lights in the capital.
The executive officers of the PMC’s four administrative circles issued the orders.
Shashank Shekhar Sinha, the executive officer of the New Capital circle, told The Telegraph that he has issued a letter asking electricians to regularly monitor the street lamps under his jurisdiction.
“The corporation does not have sufficient number of electricians. Many electricians have retired and there has been no fresh recruitments for several decades. But those still in the employment of the civic body have been asked to keep a watch on the street lamps,” he said.
The officer added: “In our circle, there are six electricians. They have been assigned specific areas where they will take care of the street lamps.”
He added that while streetlamps in upscale areas and on road bridges had modern automated timers to switch them on and off, the old ones had developed snags and had to be operated manually.
One of these malfunctioning street lamps is the one at west Gandhi Maidan, opposite Jai Prakash roundabout, which remained on round-the-clock for several weeks, causing wastage of power and loss of taxpayers’ money. These lamps are under the jurisdiction of the New Capital circle.
For the past one week, The Telegraph was steadfast on its mission to plug energy waste and stop loss of taxpayers’ money because of the glowing streetlights. Around Rs 1 lakh (Rs 92,170 to be precise) of taxpayers’ money was drained.
Sources said the PMC had not taken up the work of monitoring streetlamps owing to acute shortage of resources and manpower even though the government had asked it to take up the responsibility several months ago.
Sinha is not the only civic body officer eager to stop the wastage of electricity and money. His colleagues too took an initiative in the right direction. Chandra Shekhar Narayan, the executive officer of the Bankipore circle of the civic body, said while no street lamps remained switched on in the areas under in his jurisdiction, he had still instructed the employees concerned to supervise the streetlamps, especially on Rajendra Nagar and Bahadurpur flyovers.
The civic body has other plans up his sleeves to take care of the lamps on the city streets. It has recently floated tenders through the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom government, inviting private agencies to bid for the upkeep and maintenance of the street lamps on public-private partnership mode.
The agency that will be assigned the project will have to maintain and operate street and high mast lamps throughout the corporation area. It will also pay a certain amount of fee to the civic body for the advertisements put up on the lampposts. The project is expected to be finalised by the end of this month.
An earlier proposal by a private firm was rejected by the empowered standing committee of the corporation about a month back, as there was no consensus on the advertisement rate offered.