Complaints mount over faulty street lights in city

Councillors ask corpn. not to pay monthly instalment to company

The Kozhikode Municipal Corporation is facing opposition from councillors, irrespective of party affiliations, in the matter of paying the monthly instalment to Karnataka State Electronics Development Corporation (KEONICS) on the grounds that the company had violated the contract with the corporation. The KEONICS has been entrusted with the conversion of all street lights in the city into LED lights and their maintenance for the next 10 years. The conversion process has been completed, but many councillors claimed that the street lights in their wards were soon damaged and that they were not replaced immediately as per the contract.

The contract pertains to the maintenance of 39,600 street lights in the city. However, the corporation has requested the company to set up an additional 16,851 street lights, the monthly cost of maintenance of which will be calculated later. Councillor K.C. Shobhita, in a recent council meeting, pointed out that the company should replace faulty street lights within 48 hours of receiving information, as per the contract. But the lights often remain in the same condition even weeks after the information is passed. Several councillors complained of the same situation and advised the corporation not to pay the next instalment to the company. Many also alleged that the lights were not good enough and that lamp posts were placed randomly at unnecessary places.

The Kozhikode Corporation pays a sum of ₹47.50 lakh every month to KEONICS for the maintenance of the lights. The first instalment of the payment was sanctioned in a council meeting on November 4, 2020, and the company has now demanded the second instalment. Secretary Binu Francis said that a software system to monitor the functioning of street lights will be added to the lamp posts so that the company gets notified immediately if any light gets damaged. Meanwhile, the corporation is planning a meeting, in which officials of the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) will also attend, to clear misunderstandings, if any, between KEONICS and KSEB.

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