MMC solar streetlights still not functioning


The solar streetlights installed by the Margao Municipal Council (MMC) around its building have not been functioning for the last one year. Even while the city was celebrating Diwali, the festival of lights, and more recently, the famed Dindi, the solar lamps failed to contribute to the illumination of the MMC square.
The Goa Energy Development Agency (GEDA) and the MMC had, in a joint project in February 2010, installed 50 lamps in the city – 12 around the municipal building and 38 in the municipal garden. The cost of the project was shared equally by the MMC and the GEDA with the former depositing 6 lakh with the latter. While the lamps installed in the garden are working fine, the 12 lamps around the municipality garden are not in order.
Sources in the MMC said that the lamps were procured from three different companies which were expected to carry out regular maintenance for a period of five years. "The solar lamps began malfunctioning in less than six months of their erection," an MMC official said.
MMC chief officer Srinet Kothwale said that the fault in the lamps appears to be drained batteries. "The batteries need to be recharged. We have already brought this to the notice of the GEDA," Kothwale had told TOI two weeks ago. Member secretary of the GEDA Michael D'Souza, when contacted on Wednesday said that he was unaware of the issue and that he would look into it.
"So far, I have not received any communication in that regard from the MMC. If there was any arrangement with the private companies for maintenance, I will have to look it up," D'Souza said, adding that the project was taken up before he took up his posting at GEDA.
Former chairperson of the MMC Savio Coutinho, during whose tenure the solar streetlights project was undertaken, said: "I had taken the initiative for the project for the primary reason that such a venture by the MMC would boost the government's efforts in promoting renewable energy. If authorities are unable to ensure the maintenance of a few lamps, how will the public be encouraged to go in for solar energy systems? I am of the view that solar lighting systems should be installed in all government offices as it will at least save a lot of wastage of electricity." [TOI]