No end in sight to darkness - The New Indian Express

No end in sight to darkness

Published: 26th September 2013 02:31 PM

Last Updated: 26th September 2013 02:31 PM

Many a city street continues to remain dark following the impasse over the maintenance of streetlights between the City Corporation and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

Taking into consideration the festival season, the Corporation had sought the help of KSEB to complete the maintenance of over 30,000 faulty streetlamps. A government order issued in August 2011 had relieved the KSEB of the responsibility of employing contractors for maintenance work and passed it on to the local bodies.

According to Corporation Works Standing Committee chairman V S Padmakumar, the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation covers a bigger area than any other Corporation in the state. It is, therefore, hard to get sufficient workers to carry out the work at a short notice.

By the end of August, an all-party delegation led by Mayor K Chandrika had submitted a memorandum to Electricity Minister Aryadan Mohammed demanding that the KSEB should carry out the work in August, which the Board agreed, for once.

According to KSEB officials, they had carried out the maintenance works despite the huge financial loss for them, taking into consideration the proximity of the Onam festival season. “Almost 80 per cent of the local bodies are carrying out the maintenance work themselves following the 2011 circular. Here, the City Corporation authorities have asked us to take back the responsibility saying they will not be able to find contractors. A meeting was conducted with the Chairman a week before Onam and KSEB agreed to take up the work. But the materials were not delivered by the Corporation on time and we failed to complete the work. In future, the civic body itself will have to carry out the maintenance,” said an official.

Meanwhile, the Corporation has another version to offer. “KSEB has completed the maintenance of only 10,000 lights among the 30,000. It hasn’t even turned up to receive the purchased materials. Anyway, the Corporation will invite bids for annual maintenance contracts (AMC) to complete the remaining works and for the future maintenance works,” said Padmakumar.

There are 65,000 fluorescent tubes, 15,000 sodium vapour lamps and over 50 high-mast lights under the Corporation in the city. According to the authorities, it will take at least two months to invite tenders and take up the works. In other words, the city residents as well as visitors have no other option but to walk in the dark till at least December.

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