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RTI News-Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) Rs 470 crore LED Smart Street Lighting project under scanner through RTI

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In an RTI reply to senior Congress corporator Sandip Sahare, NMC’s electricity department executive engineer Sanjay Jaiswal said that the cost for every 37 watt LED street light is Rs 9,900. Sahare asked about the cost of LED street lights in local markets, and also manufacturing companies, and claims that the lights were available for between Rs 3,400 and Rs 4,000 in the markets.

TOI too visited many city dealers and found that the price at which LED lights are being procured by NMC’s electricity department is too high.
A wholesale dealer from Gandhibagh pointed out, “With Rs9,900, NMC can purchase at least 70 watt LED-based street light.” As NMC is purchasing in bulk, it will also get a handsome discount of between 20% and 40%, said the dealer.

A scam appears to be hidden behind Nagpur Municipal Corporation’s (NMC) Rs470 crore light-emitting diode (LED) Smart Street Lighting project, meant to save electricity and money. The civic body is purchasing each LED light for Rs9,900, which is three times the market price even in the retail market.

“If we take into account the 1.38 lakh street lights, and irregularities in purchasing them, this turns out to be a scam of at least over Rs100 crore,” Sahare said. “This scam could even be worth more. The price of all LED street lights, which were earlier installed in the city, and their market price should be checked,” he said.
In fact, the cost per LED light even excludes the maintenance and operation cost. NMC will have to pay Rs82 per street light per month for operation and maintenance, said Sahare, who has studied the terms and conditions of the project.
The estimated cost of the street light project is Rs470 crore, of which Rs277 crore is for replacement of existing street light panels with LEDs, Rs106 crore for operation and maintenance of LED street lights for 99 months, Rs59 crore for infrastructure development, and Rs28 crore for works on Ring Road and Metro Rail corridor. Work orders for executing the works were issued to eight private companies in January this year.
So far, NMC has converted over 35,000 of the total 1.38 lakh sodium vapour street lights into LED lights. The target is to convert remaining 96,000 street lights into LED by December 2018.

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