Mumbaikars will have to wait longer for Marine Drive’s golden glow to be restored. According to officials from the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), the Union Ministry’s power subsidiary, the company will at least take a month to replace the current white LED lights with yellow LEDs, as directed by the Bombay High Court (HC) recently.
Earlier, the HC had asked the BMC commissioner to see if yellow sodium vapour lamps could be installed on Marine Drive before August 15.
However, the company had said that the iconic street’s golden glow could be restored with yellow LEDs and there was no need to go back to sodium vapour. Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta Tuesday had also directed the company to change the lights “at the earliest”.
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An official from EESL, however, said that the company is yet to receive the order. The official, who did not wish to be named, said, “We have not received the order yet. Changing the LED lights does not mean that we have to only replace bulbs. The entire assembly has to be dismantled. We have to also check on the exact color spectrum. We have never undertaken such a procedure before.”
The civic body had decided to install LED lights across the city, starting with Marine Drive in January this year after Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal met former Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte. EESL had installed the new lights as a part of the project. According to the officials, 644 lamps on the street have been replaced with white LEDs.
The LED lights also started a row between ruling alliance partners Shiv Sena and the BJP. Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray had earlier tweeted that the BJP went ahead and changed the lights without seeking Sena’s opinion.
Sena corporator Avkash Jadhav, who had raised the issue in the general body meeting of BMC, said, “The fact that they (EESL) are giving technical excuses shows how competent the company is. If they cannot replace the lights immediately, then why did the claim so before the court. The company is taking the city for granted and BMC should re-consider their proposal to change the streetlights all over the city.”
EESL in its petition has said that the glory of Queen’s Necklace can be restored by simply switching to yellow-coloured LED lights, rather than switching to sodium vapour lights and incurring additional cost per year.
A top official from the BMC said, “Since it is a technical issue, they will take some time to change the lights. The court order also directs for the lights to be changed at the earliest and has no deadlines set.”