Govt likely to rope in mohalla sabhas for street light upkeep

Govt likely to rope in mohalla sabhas for street light upkeep

Delhi government is planning to involve proposed mohalla sabhas for identifying spots that need new street lights and also to report malfunctioning electricity poles.

After getting reports from the mohalla sabhas about dark spots on streets, government’s Delhi Urban Development Authority will provide the funds, said government sources.

The mohalla sabhas, or resident groups, are Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s brainchild for involving the community in governance. A total of 2,969 mohalla sabhas are planned.

Sources said a few legislators complained to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia about poor maintenance of street lights in their constituencies. At present, the civic agency pays a fixed amount per pole to the private power distribution companies, apart from energy charges, for maintenance.

Aam Aadmi Party legislators have also expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of work by the power companies on installation of new street lights under the MLA fund.

Sisodia recently held a meeting with senior officials of the Revenue Department and decided to involve the proposed mohalla sabhas in the process of identifying locations for new street lights at dark spots.

The funds for the street lights would be provided to mohalla Sabhas through DUDA.

The addition of streetlight maintenance to the list of jobs that mohalla sabhas can perform is being seen as an attempt to help MLAs save time for other work that involves dealing with public, officials said.

As per an earlier decision, the mohalla sabhas are going to be involved in overseeing construction of roads, maintenance of parks and other community services.

Mohalla sabhas are a medium for the AAP government to crowd source development by empowering these resident groups that would represent around 4,000-5,000 residents each at the polling booth level.

As an experiment, Sisodia last year started a pilot project in 11 Assembly constituencies. Each sabha was given a limit of Rs 20 crore within which it could suggest local development work.

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