According to reports, the slums in the city will promote the use of unconventional energy if the civic body’s plan to use solar energy to power lights is approved.
A proposal to fit solar street lights in the slums has been tabled before the standing committee. The Shivajinagar assembly constituency has been selected for the project, followed by slums in Bopodi, Khairewadi and Patil Estate areas.
“This is the first time the slums in the city will have solar lights. Shivajinagar assembly areas have been selected for a rollout. The remaining areas will be taken up as and when the funds are available,” said S S Chaudhari, executive engineer of PMC, told TOI on Thursday.
The project will be completed in 60 days after its commencement. Funds worth Rs 1 crore will be utilised. Nearly 160 streets lights will be installed at a cost of Rs 62,500 each. A 43 watt bulb will be fit to the streetlight along with the solar panel.
Most slum areas are congested and there is hardly any space to lay cables for street lights. “Solar poles will be easy to instal as they take little space. The intention is to promote unconventional energy sources. It will also reduce the expenses on electricity for street lights,” said Chaudhari.
Forty per cent of Pune’s population, or an estimated 14 lakh people, lives in slums. The population has grown by 176% since 1991 due to migration. Of the 244 sq km under the PMC limits, about 15 sq km, is encroached upon by slums.
The Town and Country Planning Organisation (TCPO), the technical arm of the ministry of urban development, government of India, ranks Pune third among the cities with the largest number of slums in India. Mumbai stands first with 55% of its total population in slums, followed by Meerut with a slum population of 44%.
As for the main street lights, the civic body has plans to instal about 10,000 Light Emitting Diodes (LED) streetlights across the city, replacing the existing high pressure sodium vapour lamps (HPSV) wherever possible.
A Union urban development ministry advisory issued last week to the administrations of all the states and cities sought better street lighting to make public places safer at night.