Mysore/Mysuru: Hundreds of night commuters along the Outer Ring Road – a 42-kilometre long carriageway — can now heave a sigh of relief as streetlights along the road have been switched on after a long gap.
The road had plunged into darkness, endangering the safety of people using the motorway and residents of layouts beyond the road. Lights were switched on for last Dasara following the intervention of the then Mysuru District Minister V. Somanna who took the issue to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa. But just days after Dasara, the lights were switched off as the electricity bills were not paid.
Now the lights are on again following the intervention of Urban Development Minister B.A. Basavaraj and Mysuru District Minister S.T. Somashekar. At a meeting held with Mysuru Urban Development Authority on May 7, the issue was discussed and the Ministers were told that a bill of Rs. 1.5 crore to Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) was pending.
The Minister was told that there were two reasons for the Ring Road going dark. The first issue was the non-payment of electricity bill to CESC by MUDA. The second was the ambiguity as to who should maintain, operate and pay for the streetlights – MCC, MUDA or the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) as the six-lane Outer Ring Road has already been hand over to NHAI by MUDA. With no clarity on the issue and passing the buck act, the problem continued, the Ministers were told.
Hearing the officials, Minister Basavaraj asked the MUDA and MCC to share the responsibility of maintaining the streetlights and payment of bills.
Speaking to ‘Star of Mysore’ this morning, MUDA Assistant Executive Engineer (Electricals), Raghavendra said that the Minister had directed MUDA to foot the present outstanding bill of Rs. 1.5 crore.
Till the Government takes a decision on who should foot the bill, the MCC and MUDA have to maintain the lights. Also, keeping in mind that the NHAI does not have budgetary provisions to maintain the streetlights, a decision has to be taken by the Government after looking at how the system is followed in other States.
“Till then, the MCC and MUDA have to share the responsibility. Both MUDA and MCC come under the Urban Development Department and the Government has to take a call,” Raghavendra said.
The 42-kilometre long carriageway has 2,135 electric poles and each pole has two metal-halide lamps. This means, MUDA and MCC have to foot the bills and maintain over 4,270 bulbs. Altogether, the monthly expenditure comes up to Rs. 18 lakh. 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.