The announcement by BJP leaders on Saturday that street lights in Mumbai will be converted to LED ones by a government-recognised company, has pitted the two ruling parties against each other in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
Shiv Sena MLA and ex-mayor Sunil Prabhu has written to the Chief Minister that this decision is like the BJP taking over the BMC’s authority. On Saturday, it was declared that in the coming eight months, the current sodium vapour-based street lights would be converted to LED lights.
Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said that the state government should have directed the BMC and not issued any contracts. Leader of Opposition Devendra Amberkar said it is not fair on the part of the state government to issue such contracts without the BMC’s knowledge
The announcement by BJP leaders also raised doubts in the minds of the Opposition leader, and on Monday, there was a discussion in the general body meeting on how the state government could give the contract to a company without an approval from the BMC.
There are about 1.32 lakh street lights in the city which will be converted, and the same firm would also be responsible for their maintenance.
Leader of Opposition, Congress’ Devendra Amberkar, said in the meeting, “It is not fair on the part of the state government to issue such contracts without the knowledge of BMC, as it is the BMC’s right to issue tenders and get the lowest bidder on board. If BMC is spending the amount, then why not go through a proper procedure?”
Manoj Kotak, the group leader of BJP, said, “The BMC will only profit from this, as it will annually save about R80 crore if this conversion is done. The Congress is opposing this because they want a private firm to take over such an important contract and not a government-recognised firm.”
Prabhu said, “The LED lights would surely prove effective in the city, but if a proper procedure was followed, the BMC could have easily been able to save a lot more money than Rs 80 crore. The state government should have directed the BMC and not issued any contracts, as this is just taking away the rights of the civic body.” The BMC administration did not speak on the issue in the meeting.
No decision taken
S V R Srinivas, additional municipal commissioner who looks after these facilities, said, “The issue is still being discussed. We are planning a pilot project on Marine Drive, but the decision on lights in the whole city is yet to be taken. For further details, you will have to check with the municipal commissioner.” Municipal Commissioner Sitaram Kunte could not be reached for comment.