Where power cables are not viable, the sun will light up the streets at night. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) is getting ready to install solar streetlights in slum settlements. The civic body is taking a cue from central and state governments providing solar power in remote villages.
“The project is inspired by solar lights illuminating rural, remote places,” said S S Chaudhari, executive engineer of PMC. He said the civic body had been struggling to ensure facilities in congested slums due to difficulty in laying down power cables.
“Providing light in slums through cables has been a tough task. There would be difficulties in repairing and maintenance as a repair van has to reach the location. Electric cables also cause risk in slum areas as hutments are close to electric poles,” Chaudhari said. The solar street light reduces maintenance and repair apart from helping the civic body save electricity, he said adding, “If solar street lights to be installed at 10 slums in Shivajinagar area prove useful then it would be replicated across the city. It would be a permanent solution to problems faced on illuminating congested slums in the city.”
The civic body would use funds allotted by the legislator. The PMC would in the initial phase use Rs 1 crore offered by MLC Deepti Chowdhary from funds allotted to legislators as local area development fund. It would install 160 street lights each of Rs 62,499 using the money.
Deputy Municipal Commissioner Vijay Dahibhate said PMC earlier used solar street lights in some gardens.
“Solar lights do not have much illumination and is useful in places like gardens and slums but cannot be used on busy streets. To save energy, the civic body has been trying to use solar energy at various places and will work on using it in civic offices and buildings,” he added.
The civic body has been unable to resolve the problem of paying electricity charges of slum rehabilitation schemes due to heavy power consumption of lift and other facilities in the buildings, he said, adding that the civic body would take up another project using funds of legislator Ramesh Bagwe to run lift and electric pumps for such schemes by tapping solar energy.