Mumbai: In an apparent reference to Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut, Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal today accused him of misleading people by making allegations of corruption in award of LED street-lighting contracts in the city, and said there was complete transparency in award of the contracts.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut
Goyal, who belongs to BJP, attacked Raut, who is also Executive Editor of 'Saamana', a Sena mouthpiece, without naming him.
"There is one journalist in Maharashtra, who is trying to portray himself as the defender of Mumbai. He is writing long editorials regarding this matter and misleading people. These allegations are false," he told reporters here.
"I do not know if it is his personal interest or what is the reason to mislead people. He is claiming some private company benefited through the Central government's largesse," Goyal said, clarifying that ESSL, a public sector undertaking, is carrying out the task of replacing the sodium vapour lights with energy-conserving LED.
The Minister said some people are "jealous" of the pace at which BJP-led governments in Maharashtra and at the Centre are working, but such allegations will not deter them.
Raut, who is also a Sena spokesperson, had recently alleged corruption in the LED lighting scheme. When told the allegations had appeared in 'Saamana', Goyal said, "I have been informed by the leaders of the party (Sena) that the mouthpiece is an independent entity and has its own editorial line and does not necessarily reflect the party's line."
The Centre has drawn up an ambitious plan to save energy by replacing the sodium vapour lights with the LED ones and has started the project in select cities. In the financial
capital, it started with the famous landmark Marine Drive, where allegations of corruption have surfaced.
The minister claimed that the price per LED bulb has come down to Rs 81.93 per piece over the last few biddings as compared to Rs 315 in February 2014 under the previous UPA dispensation, courtesy transparent bidding.
Reputed local companies like Usha and Crompton Greaves are among those bidding and such large-scale orders also help the 'Make in India' theme of the government, he said.
An article written by Raut in 'Saamana' had objected to the BJP-backed plan to install LED lights in the city. The Sena wants the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) to replace the new white LED lights at Marine Drive with yellow sodium vapour lamps. MCGM is ruled by Sena-BJP combine.