Mysuru: Just a month after Dasara, streetlights along the six-lane Outer Ring Road (ORR) has been switched off. The 42-km-long carriageway has plunged into darkness again, endangering the safety of people using the motorway and residents of layouts beyond the road. Lights were switched on for Dasara following the intervention of Mysuru District Minister V. Somanna who took the issue to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa who holds the Urban Development Ministry portfolio. He had written to Yediyurappa who had noted in the letter that the Mysuru Urban Development Authority (MUDA) and Mysuru City Corporation (MCC) must share the responsibility of maintaining the streetlights.
With Dasara over, the street has plunged into darkness again, with no clarity on who should operate and maintain the streetlights. As outstanding dues remained unpaid, the Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) disconnected power supply to streetlights. The six-lane Ring Road was built by MUDA and it handed over to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for maintenance.
Who has to maintain?
Once the road was handed over to NHAI, MUDA said that the NHAI has to operate the streetlights. But the NHAI has maintained that they do not have budgetary provisions to maintain the streetlights. As such, the maintenance of the streetlights fell on MCC and MUDA who agreed to maintain the lights as a joint responsibility. Though Minister Somanna had clearly instructed MCC and MUDA that the streetlights must not be switched off after Dasara, the entire stretch has now plunged into darkness.
Speaking to Star of Mysore this morning, N.M. Shashikumar, Additional Deputy Commissioner of MCC said that they cannot foot the electricity bill as there will be audit objections.
Temporary arrangement only
“When Minister Somanna intervened in the issue, we were told to make a temporary arrangement till Dasara is over. He had told us that there will be a formal Government Order on the areas that come under MCC and the ones that come under MUDA and accordingly, power bills can be footed. And there will be no audit objections if there is a Government Order. So far we have not received any order from the Government,” he clarified.
Shashikumar further said that last Thursday, MUDA and MCC had a joint meeting including Commissioners, Joint Directors of Town Planning, Superintending Engineers and Executive Engineers. “The meeting discussed issues like the inside areas of the Ring Road that come under MCC and the outer areas that come under MUDA. The meeting deliberated on transfer of layouts, Khatas and other issues. As per the outcome of the meeting, MUDA has to maintain the Ring Road streetlights,” he said.
MUDA is waiting for Government Order
MUDA Commissioner P.S. Kantharaju said that the Government Order on sharing the power bills is awaited for clear-cut instructions. “We had set aside funds to get the lights switched on. Maintenance cost includes replacement of bulbs, wires and fuse and other works besides the electricity costs. The matter is before the Government (Urban Development Department) since both MUDA and MCC come under the Urban Development Department,” he said.
Over 1,136 electricity poles of the total 2,135 come under MUDA while the rest come under the jurisdiction of MCC and Zilla Panchayat. As such, MCC, MUDA and ZP can together foot the electricity bill, he added.