The ruling party in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Shiv Sena, has demanded that the white LED lights at Marine Drive be replaced with yellow lights in a week, noting the observations made by Bombay High Court (HC) Chief Justice Mohit Shah. In a letter to the Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta, Sena corporator and standing committee chairman Yashodhar Phanse has asked the administration to change the lights.
Another letter on the same issue was sent by Avkash Jadhav, a Sena corporator who has been asking the administration to change back to yellow lights since January this year. He said, “The swiftness with which the administration had earlier changed all lights in a week, should be there in replacing the lights now.”
Chief Justice Shah had expressed his support for restoring the seafront’s yellow sodium vapour lights in open court on Thursday during a discussion on traffic issues.
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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. Energy Efficiency Services, a Government of India subsidiary, had then installed the new lights.
The project ran into controversy with BJP and Sena leaders locking horns over the installation. Yuva Sena chief Aaditya Thackeray had tweeted against the project and claimed that BJP did not seek Sena’s opinion on it.
On Friday, Thackeray thanked the High Court for its observations. Thackeray wrote, “I thank the Honourable High Court Chief Justice for voicing Mumbaikars against the wrongfully imposed LEDs on Marine Drive, that stole away its charm.” “Marine Drive is known as the Queen’s Necklace. I’m not against LEDs, but that identity known to Mumbaikars and tourists must remain forever,” he added.
According to BMC officials, it has replaced more than 160 lights on the iconic stretch in the beginning of the year. A senior official from the traffic department of BMC said, “We have not yet received any instruction. However, if it is the High Court’s observations, we will immediately act on it.”
The court Thursday had also pointed out to the various stakeholders of the administration that the signal at the Air Indian junction in Nariman Point was not visible as there was a lamp-post in front of it. The authorities adjusted the signal on Friday.