Monday, August 09, 2010

City must wait for GIS-lit street lamps

City must wait for GIS-lit street lamps
Sandeep Moudgal, Bangalore, Aug 8, DHNS:

It will take a while before the Geographical Information System will help light up street lamps in Bangalore.

A legal tussle over a Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) tender is delaying the implementation of the system that the Palike hopes will cut down most of its street light woes.

The Karnataka High Court is hearing the case over the BBMP tender that was granted to Subhash Projects and Marketing Limited (SPML) to maintain street lights in Bangalore, after contractors questioned irregularities in the tender process. The court, in its latest hearing, has asked the petitioners to come back after State Government implements the system.

Upbeat over the use of GIS to maintain street lamps, the BBMP plans to use it to watch over the functioning of nearly 3.5 lakh street lights under its 800 sq kilometres limits. For this, the Palike would have control units at each of its eight zonal offices that would check lights in at least three to four stretches.

It also hopes to employ it to track flaws in the network.
The BBMP claims the GIS, coupled with another technology, could also help save energy. The set up will ensure lights are dimmed between 11 pm and 5 am daily.

Despite Palike’s high hopes, the system has not yet been tested on the ground. “No trial run has been conducted and the system is still not implemented anywhere in the Country,” said sources in the BBMP.

As of now, the maintenance of street lights has been broken up into short modules, each one comprising two to three roads. The work has been entrusted to about 35 contractors by the BBMP, who feel offended that the BBMP has granted the GIS tender to just the SPML and has sent it for State government approval without even a trial.The SPML has been given the tender, quoted at Rs 43 crore, for a period of six years under the Build-Own-Operate-Transfer (BOOT).

The period has now been extended to 12 years, a Palike official said. “The proposal was sent to the State government on February 28, 2010, without even testing the feasibility of the project,” informed a BBMP source.

According to BBMP officials, what is delaying the GIS implementation is the legal case, which in fact is just a bid by the contractors to “delay” the process.

“Small-time contractors are scared, with the GIS system in place, they will be unable to compete with the more-affluent contractors who are the only ones likely to bid for the tenders,” said a source.

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