Civic body claims on street light repairs come hollow

Residents say non-functional lights not repaired within 48 hours

Civic body claims on street light repairs come hollow

Defunct lights on a stretch separating Sectors 11 and 15 on Madhya Marg on Sunday. Pradeep Tewari

Sandeep Rana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 22

Tall claims of the local Municipal Corporation about fixing non-functional street lights within 48 hours seem to be holding no water.

Since the EESL, a public sector undertaking (PSU), took over maintenance of street lights from the corporation, the local residents are a harried lot. The residents said non-functional lights were not properly repaired despite their complaints.

Kuldeep Singh Gill, president, Bright RWA, Sector 21-B, said: “I complained on toll-free number 18001803580 about three defunct street lights on November 1. Contrary to the promise of ensuring repairs within 48 hours, the lights were not fixed till yesterday. I had to approach several channels, after which they repaired the lights this morning. Still, one street light was not repaired as we were told it was of Bajaj make, not EESL. This system is all chaos.”

He appreciated the old system wherein local JEs or SDOs got the lights repaired.

Baljinder Singh Bittu, chairman, Federation of Sectors Welfare Association of Chandigarh (FOSWAC), said: “It is a very bad system imposed on the city residents. The agency is not doing any work. Lights remain out of order for even one month. Poor residents do not even know about their complaint numbers. Why the MC has failed to impose any penalty on the company?”According to information MC officials shared with The Tribune, as per the 2017 agreement reached between the civic body and the ESSL, having replaced all street lights with LED ones, the PSU will take care of maintenance of these lights for seven years. A toll-free number was also released for street light complaints. In a strange arrangement, issues relating to street light fitting are to be fixed by the EESL while the MC will resolve supply issues.

Owing to poor coordination between the two entities and lack of accountability on the part of EESL, most complaints remain entangled between supply and fitting issues. “The whole work, including supply, should have been given to the company, which could have avoided this confusion. It would have also helped in putting MC officials on other tasks,” said a resident.

A source said: “The EESL has outsourced the work. The MC should have itself outsourced this work. Just because it was a PSU, the company was given the work leaving the residents to suffer. There are many states which have not hired the services of this PSU of the Centre, but Chandigarh has.”

Meanwhile, non-functional street lights were seen in a majority of southern sectors. Road from the railway station to the poultry farm, and the stretch near the High Court and Sukhna Lake, too, had non-functional street lights.

Meanwhile, Ajay Raj, General Manager, EESL, did not respond to the phone calls and text messages sent by this correspondent. The MC Superintending Engineer, Krishan Pal Singh, who heads the electricity wing, said: “The residents should now call 24X7 helpline number 0172-2787200 for street light and other MC issues. The issue will be resolved.”

Strange arrangement

In a strange arrangement, issues related to street light fitting are to be fixed by the EESL while the Municipal Corporation will resolve problems concerned with the electricity supply.

Public at receiving end

Owing to a poor coordination between the two entities and lack of accountability on the part of the EESL, most complaints remain entangled between supply and fitting issues. “The whole work, including supply, should have been given to the company, which could have avoided this confusion. It would have also helped in putting MC officials on other tasks,” said a resident.

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