F&CC meet: Street light project cleared amid high drama

JALANDHAR: The Rs 274-crore project for the replacement of 65,000 sodium-based street lights of the city with LED lights was cleared by the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) during its meeting held here today.

editorial@tribune.com

Aparna Banerji

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, December 23

The Rs 274-crore project for the replacement of 65,000 sodium-based street lights of the city with LED lights was cleared by the Finance and Contracts Committee (F&CC) during its meeting held here today. With four votes polled in favour of it and two against it the agenda was formally cleared in the MC today amid high drama and protest against an alleged corruption scandal by two of its members.

Even councillor Ravi Mahendru walked out of the meeting following heated arguments with the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Kamaljit Bhatia presented a dissenting note over the issue.

While the F&CC committee comprises six members, four members — Mayor Sunil Jyoti, MC Commissioner Gurpreet Khehra, Deputy Mayor Arvinder Kaur Oberoi, and councillor Bhagwant Parabhakar — voted for it while the remaining two members – Senior Deputy Mayor Kamaljit Bhatia and councillor Ravi Mahendru voted against it.

The MC proposition

Among the most ambitious projects envisioned by the MC, as many as 65,000 street lights across the city at present operating on sodium light will be replaced by LED lights. The cost will entirely be borne by the PCP company under which the project will be undertaken. A consortium of four companies, the MC is entering into a tie up with this company for the first time under the project.

In the 10-year maintenance period, the company is bearing all expenses of the project on the condition that 89 per cent of the project dividends will be received by the company while 11 per cent would go to the MCJ. The corporation will pay Rs 10.37 crore annually and Rs 103.75 crore for a period of 10 years (as per the 89 per cent share) as savings on the project. The civil body’s electricity bills will thus be reduced from Rs 19.21 crore to Rs 7.56 crore, making savings of around Rs 11.65 crore while the MCJ will retain Rs 1.25 crore annually in savings. However, the work on the project will begin from tomorrow onwards, the total work is expected to be completed within a period of eight to nine months.

The issue

However, the project – part of which is being termed as a scam by the Senior Deputy Mayor – has received its share of criticism. While the issue saw a heated exchange between councillor Ravi Mahendru and Mayor Sunil Jyoti, the councillor left the meeting midway. Meanwhile, Senior Deputy Mayor submitted a dissenting note to the committee on the issue.

The Senior Deputy Mayor’s prime allegation against the project is that its cost has been enhanced by Rs 33 crore to facilitate the company. Speaking to The Tribune, the Senior Deputy Mayor alleged, “There is a Rs 33 crore enhancement in the project costs and the company to which the project has been given is not competent. The MC could not relax the tender for the company. The company does not fulfil the conditions for bagging the project. Like the road sweeping project, this project has also been cleared hastily.”

Among the other issues on which the MC came under criticism, included the road sweeping project. Bhatia sought its details from the Mayor. He alleged that this project was also a scam.

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