BENGALURU: The underpass towards Nayandahalli, connecting north and south Bengaluru, has been in dire need of lighting for quite some time now. While a similar underpass towards Vijayanagara has LEDs already in place, the one at Nayandahalli has fallen prey to the regulations by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), which has not allowed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) to import specific types of long-life LEDs called ‘Sleek’ from Russia, said a senior BBMP engineer.
The Russian company has opened one of its major manufacturing units in Jigni near Bengaluru. For months, citizen groups and commuters have been bringing up the issue with officials, but nothing has been done. While the BBMP had then claimed that the underpass will be equipped with LEDs soon, availing such bulbs for mounting is one of the many challenges the electrical department of the Palike is facing.
Tunnel is accident-prone: Citizens
While the BBMP has its own set of issues with procuring the lights, commuters are finding it hard to navigate this 150-metre stretch, as several vehicles move through this underpass on a daily basis. A rider/driver enters this underpass after having driven in sunlight, and vision gets impacted when suddenly travelling through the dark underpass. A commuter who travels via this every day complained, “The road is not flat - there are potholes and random cuts where bikers tend to lose balance. The mercury lights in this tunnel are of no use as they are very dim.”
Another resident, Nagesh (name changed), from Hosekerehalli near PES College, said, “Many mini vans move between the outer ring road and Banashankari via this route. They are always speeding, making it difficult for two-wheelers to navigate in the underpass. Last year, a biker was almost hit by a van, and the driver of the latter escaped.”
No imported lights allowed
BBMP engineer in the electrical department, Syed Jameel, told CE, “We require lights or LEDs that will be on 24/7, all days of the week. Such lights are hard to find here, and so we had to import them from the Russian plant Lighting Technologies. These lights have already been mounted in the underpass at Vijayanagara, however, it took us almost one-and-a-half years to get the stock, as getting certification from BIS is a challenge.”
Jameel pointed out that the BIS allows only Indian fittings, and has strictly barred imported lights. He stressed that the LEDs in Vijayanagara are in good condition, even after eight months since installation. “Around 159 LEDs have been mounted on the walls of the Vijayanagara underpass. The estimated budget to avail these lights was `30lakh, and BBMP had spent another `18,000 on contractors for installation.”
However, when we approached Sridhar Eswaran, the managing director of Eswa Technolgies, which represents the Russian company in Karnataka, he said that they are trying to find an alternative to the imported lights. He added, “BBMP had appreciated the lights we had supplied for the Vijayanagara underpass. We have also designed a similar plan for Nayandahalli, but due to restrictions by BIS on import, we are trying to manufacture an alternate at the Jigni plant. As of now, there is an alternate LED called ‘Amute’, which is of 60 watts. However, the proposed design and requirement for the underpass is 80 watts.”
He added, “We conduct studies on such underpass roads so as to suggest appropriate lighting. We are trying to manufacture a product similar to the Russian one here, but ones manufactured here have a shorter life.”