In a clear violation of its own terms and conditions, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation has given the contract for the maintenance of streetlights on CG Road to two companies, resulting in the wastage of millions of rupees from taxpayers.
The company that installed the light poles was supposed to maintain and repair them under the terms of the Rs 38-crore CG Road renovation tender. The civic body, on the other hand, has cheerfully entrusted the work to another contractor and paid Rs 50 lakh for it in a year.
The contract for the Rs 38-crore redevelopment project of the CG Road, which includes installation, maintenance and repair of 400 streetlights for five years, was given to PSP Project Pvt Ltd. The smart light-poles were procured from China and created a lot of controversy after the India-China standoff in Galwan last year.
Citelum India, on the other hand, was awarded the contract for light-pole maintenance and has received thousands of rupees in the last year.
C G Road was renovated and reopened in December 2020. Parking spaces, pedestrian amenities, street furniture, and green areas were built along the 3-kilometre road from the Stadium crossroads to the Panchawati crossroads.
The initial cost of the project was Rs 26 crore but when it was finally completed over Rs 38 crores were spent.
PSP initiatives were to run and maintain more than 400 streetlight poles along the road.
But the light department of the AMC awarded the contract to Citelum which is managing all other streetlight poles in the city.
According to the contract, PSP Projects was responsible for the operation and repair of lamps on CG Road for a five-year term. Maintenance of LED bulbs, underground wires, and other accessories as part of the work.
Citelum, on the other hand, was given the contract and received Rs 50 lakh in a year.
When a few honest AMC officials became aware of the situation, they escalated it to senior officials. Surprisingly, no action was taken, and instead, Citelum’s payment was accelerated. Mahadev Desai, chairman of the AMC’s Roads and Building Committee, said the matter will be investigated, and if any violations were discovered, action would be taken against those involved.
On the CG Road, AMC has put 12 Chinese smart light poles that are 4 metres tall and seven poles that are 10 metres tall. Wi-Fi router, 30 watt LED fixtures, PTZ camera, USB charging plug, display boards, and weather station are all included in these smart poles. Everything was OK until the June 2020 confrontation between India and China in the Galwan valley.
AMC officials were in a dilemma because all data from the installed light poles was supposed to go to a Chinese company’s server first, then to the AMC server.
India took a strong stand after Galwan, and the Union government banned roughly 65 Chinese apps. This had an impact on the AMC project. AMC was obliged to abandon the Chinese software and instead invest Rs 1 crore in its own control room and software.