In a setback to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to install yellow LED streetlights across the city. The Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) has floated tenders and will award a contract soon.
In January last year, the BJP and alliance partner Shiv Sena had locked horns, with the civic body initiating installation of white LED lights in place of the sodium vapour lamps along the iconic Marine Drive.
The Shiv Sena said the white lights had “stolen the charm” of the Queen’s Necklace.
With the Sena, which controls the BMC, opposing the move to install white LED lights and the Mumbai Heritage Conversation Committee also objecting to it, the BJP’s initiative for the white lights was stalled.
Civic officials said the decision to install LEDs in place of the old sodium vapour lamps along the streets was taken earlier this year.
“We constituted a three-member technical committee, which had one member each from BMC and BEST and one expert. We then took a decision to install LEDs. Wherever there are yellow streetlights, yellow LEDs will be installed, and white LEDs in place of white streetlights,” said Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta. Nearly 90 per cent of street lamps in the city are yellow, said officials.
Officials said bids have been invited for installation of yellow LEDs. “We have floated tenders for installing LED lights in the city. At the moment, we are changing only 10 per cent of the lights and the remaining will be changed in a phased manner,” said Jagdish Patil, general manager of BEST.
Patil added that tenders have been floated after receiving directions from the BMC. “LEDs will be installed across the city but we will first assess how much we are saving by changing only 10 per cent to LEDs,” explained the official.
Avkash Jadhav, nominated Shiv Sena corporator, welcomed the BEST’s decision to install yellow LEDs. “This is a big victory for all of us. We are not against LEDs but we wanted the heritage character of the city to remain intact. The civic body must install LEDs across the city only through tendering,” said Jadhav, who had protested against the white LEDs along Marine Drive.
Following directions from the heritage panel, the lights along Marine Drive were changed back to yellow.
Last year, there had also been opposition to the move to allot work to Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), an undertaking of the Union power ministry, without calling for tenders in violation of civic procurement norms.