LED project yet to take off in PM Modi’s constituency

The prestigious project to replace old street lights with power-efficient light emitting diodes (LEDs) in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency has gone haywire with 33,000 street lights yet to be replaced despite the lapse of a three-month deadline issued in June last.

The project was taken up by the Centre and UP government in association with Delhi-based Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) and Union minister of state for power and coal Piyush Goyal had dedicated the high mast LED lighting system to the people of the holy city on June 9.

He had announced that the old bright yellow sodium vapour lamps at ghats along the Ganga and also street lights across the city would be replaced with LEDs within three months. A Central public sector undertaking, EESL, had been tasked with the work of replacement and over 1,200 lights had been installed at the 84-odd ghats. However, merely 1,500 had been replaced with energy efficient LEDs across the city. Some of these areas are even facing problems on various stretches and complaints about dysfunctional LEDs have started flooding Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) complaint boxes.

According to sources in the municipal corporation, several LED bulbs in the street lights went dysfunctional soon after their replacement by EESL. No efforts were initiated for their replacement until it was time for official visit by the PM or other dignitaries. When the authorities realized that LEDs were dysfunctional at Lahurabir crossing, the route which PM’s convoy had to take during his December visit, they were immediately replaced. Meanwhile, according to VMC authorities, about 1,500 street lights have been replaced by LED lamps by EESL so far against the target of 36,000 as announced by the minister in June last year. EESL was supposed to meet the cost of replacing conventional street lights with LED and the municipality was to use part of the savings in energy and maintenance cost to repay EESL over a five-seven years span.

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