January 29, 2023

Deal to fix LED bulbs scrapped as consortium misses target

The BBMP has terminated a major contract given to a consortium to replace 4.8 lakh sodium vapour lights with LED bulbs as it failed to meet targets.

The termination follows Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai’s diktat to the BBMP to not go ahead with the contract if the consortium does not complete the two-year-old project by December-end.

Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta issued the termination notice earlier this month withdrawing the letter of acceptance (LoA) issued to the consortium of three companies — Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Pvt Ltd, SMC Infrastructures, and Samudra Electronic Systems in February 2019.

The civic body has also terminated the Energy Performance Contract (EPC) awarded to the consortium, which was registered as Bangalore Streetlighting Pvt Ltd to carry out the project.

The contract was terminated on the grounds that the three companies did not achieve financial closure despite sending multiple reminders.

Over the last two years, the BBMP issued at least four show-cause notices, but the consortium did not meet any of the milestones.

The termination may also put an end to the ongoing baseline survey being conducted to assess the electricity consumption of sodium vapour streetlights.

This was undertaken to study the extent of power saved after the energy-efficient LED bulbs were installed.

With the termination of the contract, the civic body is likely to continue the existing system where maintenance contract is awarded to private parties while the BBMP pays electricity charges to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (Bescom).

Annually, the electricity charges come up to Rs 200 crore, while the maintenance of streetlights costs about Rs 40 crore to Rs 70 crore.

End of dark days?

The BBMP’s mega plan to replace sodium vapour lights with LED bulbs in all streetlights had stalled installation of new streetlights in the city for the last two years.

Despite citizens complaining about the inconvenience caused, engineers did not expedite requests to install streetlight citing the new contract.

The contract termination will likely pave the way for the installation of streetlights by using the BBMP’s own funds as well as MLA and MP grants.

In a recent meeting, Gupta directed engineers to maintain the streetlights well.

He also said all the streetlights would be fitted with LED bulbs, but did not mention the source of funds.

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