The Malleshwaram streetlight problem that BBMP couldn’t solve

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A few days ago I noticed that the streetlights and new LED streetlamps on 15th Cross, Malleshwaram, were not working properly. I thought I should complain and I did so on several fronts.

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1. I complained to the BBMP Assistant Officer for Malleshwaram by email and `WhatsApp’

2. I wrote to the MLA – Ashwath Narayan

3. I also filed a complaint on ‘malleshwaram.sahaaya.in

I got a call from someone a few days later but it so happened that the LED lights were working at that point. The streetlights were still not working.

A few days later, on Monday, June 22, I noticed that there was a guy fixing the streetlights. But what the person was doing was drawing a wire from the streetlamp to the streetlight at a height of 10 feet above the ground. I though this was dangerous and ugly. I requested him to do it properly—but he could not be bothered. I said that I would complain. The gentleman could not care less.

A couple of years ago Rs 2 crores was spent on ‘modernising’ the footpath on 15th cross. At that time all electrical cables were buried and footpath was ‘improved’ and these new LED lights were installed. Our local MLA, Ashwath Narayan, took great pride in it and put photographs of it in his re-election brochure. To get an idea of what Rs 2 crores for a 1km stretch means—it means 10,000 rupees was spent on every 1 metre of length of footpath—hence it is not a small sum.

I felt it was my responsibility to complain—since the usual argument given by the authorities is that there is citizen apathy and there is no way the city corporations can do their job without citizen involvement. I tried to call the BESCOM helpline but could not get through. So I looked on the internet and found the email address of the MD, BESCOM, Mr. Pandey—and sent him the following email:

‘Dear Shri Pandey

A few days ago I complained about the fact that none of the streetlights on 15th Cross—neither the old streetlight nor the LED lampposts—were working properly.

Today, I suppose they came to repair them—but I noticed that the BESCOM repairman—a gentleman by the name of Sridhar—was simply drawing a wire from the lamp post to the Street lamp. The wire was tied at a height of around 10 ft.

Apart from being aesthetically unattractive, it is alse EXTEMELY DANGEROUS. Every once in a while someone dies because of such a ‘jugaad’ job. I think it is completely unacceptable—but when I told the person not to do it he could’nt be bothered. I said I would complain and he couldn’t care less.

I believe 2 crores was spent on modernising the footpath a couple of years ago. If all that money was spent then why are they doing this third rate job? I hope you can take some action and ensure that they do a proper job. I tried to call BESCOM customer service but could not get through.

The precise location is XXth Cross and YYth A main, outside `ZZ’ Apartments.

sincerely,

Ramesh Sreekantan
9**** ****2′

I sent a similar email to our local MLA as well.

Tuesday, June 23rd. Early in the morning I got an email from the technical assistant to the MD, BESCOM. I was quite impressed:

`Dear Helpline Team,

Forward the complaint to the sub division office and ask for explanation if the work was carried out from BESCOM staff, if not the complaint shall be forwarded to the concerned BBMP office with a copy marked to the consumer.

Thank You,’

Around 9.30 I got a call from the BESCOM workers. They had come to the site and wanted more precise directions. I met them outside—but up on seeing the situation said it is not under their jurisdiction. Apparently maintenance of street lights comes under BBMP. So they said they would forward the information to the relevant BBMP team.

I also filed another complaint on BBMP.Sahaaya.in—which is different from Malleswaram.sahaaya.in. But apparently both are handled by BBMP – so in fact two complaints were filed.

Nothing more happened on the 23rd. I sent a similar email to the BBMP commissioner as well.

Wednesday, June 24th. Nothing happened.

Thursday, June 25th. The phone calls started. I received a call in the late morning from BBMP asking me if the work had been done. I informed them that as far as I was aware, nothing has been done. He assures me that he will inspect the site and have it fixed. A few minutes later I got another call from BBMP asking me the same question. I said no.

A couple of hours later – several more calls. All in all I received 6-8 calls from BBMP asking me whether the work was done and whether they could close the complaint. I said NO.
No work was done.

Friday, June 26th. The phone calls continued. I received about three or four calls asking me if the work was done. I told them that all that has been done by BBMP is to call me and ask me if the work was done. No work was done.

Saturday, June 27th. No calls and no work. So about a week after I complained—no work has been done—but a lot of calls and promises have been made by BBMP. BESCOM seems to be much more on the ball—but the problem is not in their hands.

To be continued…

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About Ramesh Sreekantan 5 Articles
Ramesh Sreekantan is a Mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute. He takes a keen interest in cycles - both the algebraic and mechanical kind.