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Lamps burn through day and money

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OUR CORRESPONDENT   |     |   Published 26.04.12, 12:00 AM

The lights at Gandhi Maidan are on again — burning brightly through the day and the taxpayer’s money.

On Wednesday morning, four street lamps at west Gandhi Maidan were on again. They were switched off on Tuesday after burning continuously for 23 days, consuming 11,960 units of electricity and costing the city more than Rs 65,000.

The Telegraph had reported the gargantuan wastage in its April 24 and 25 editions. The person or agency responsible for switching the lights off could still not be ascertained.

On Tuesday, Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) chief engineer Ramswarath Singh told The Telegraph that the civic body was not directly responsible for taking care of the vapour lamps. A private agency had been assigned the responsibility. But the senior officer could not recall the name of the agency.

Even after 24 hours, he was unable to recollect the name of the agency on Wednesday afternoon. But in the evening, he told The Telegraph that a Patna-based company, Third Eye, was responsible for taking care of the lamps near Gandhi Maidan.

Asked how he suddenly recalled the name, Singh said: “I was informed by the PMC staff.”

He could not, however, confirm who had given the job to this agency, nor provide their contact details.

Instead, he said: “We do not maintain the lamps near Gandhi Maidan as it is the job of the district administration and Pesu (Patna Electric Supply Undertaking).”

Pesu and Bihar State Electricity Board had passed the buck on Tuesday and washed their hands off the matter.

A source in the PMC told The Telegraph that the civic body was responsible for taking care of the lamps and it had not yet appointed anyone for the job.

“It has invited tenders for the job,” said the source. He also said earlier it was the responsibility of the Pesu to take care of the lamps but after a recent directive of the state government, the PMC has been made responsible for it.

The buck may go round and round but the wastage is an alarming one for the state.

All the four street light-cum-vapour lamps are of 10KW each. If a 1KW bulb is used for one hour, it consumes one unit of electricity. The streetlights are generally kept on for 11 hours (6pm to 5am). In this case, the four lights glowed unnecessarily for 13 hours extra.

Bihar is a power-deficient state. Against the peak power demand of 3,000MW, the state gets around 1,000-1,200MW per day from the central allocation. Of this, Patna gets around 450MW every day.

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