Mumbai: Congress on Monday said that money wasted in installing LED lights at Mumbai's iconic Marine Drive should be recovered from Union Energy minister Piyush Goyal who had insisted on replacing the sodium vapour lamps at the seafront.
City Congress president Sanjay Nirupam cited a recent observation of the Bombay High Court on sodium vapour lamps to attack the BJP.
"Following the HC's (suggestion), the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation would now have to replace LED lights with sodium lights....Money wasted in installing LED lights should be recovered from Piyush Goyal who had insisted on installing them," he said addressing reporters.
In response to a PIL on implementation of the traffic rules, the HC had suggested that 'we can have sodium vapour lamps', but it did not mention Marine Drive.
Nirupam also alleged that crores of public money was wasted due to BJP's stubbornness to replace the sodium lights with LED.
"First, sodium lamps were removed to install LED lights. Now LED lights will be removed to install sodium lamps. Public money worth crores is being wasted. Therefore, this money should be recovered from Goyal who was insisting on LED lights," the Congress leader said.
Lashing out at BJP leaders who had supported the move to install LEDs on Marine Drive, the former MP said the BJP should stop acting as "agents of companies supplying LED lights".
The BMC had replaced the sodium lamps with LEDs despite opposition from Shiv Sena, a ruling partner of BJP in the civic body as well as state government, in January as the part of a Rs 250 crore plan to switch all street lights in the city to the energy-efficient LEDs. The BMC had claimed that the move would save over Rs 80 crore in electricity bills.
Yuva Sena chief Aditya Thackeray, who had strongly criticised the decision to install LED lamps at Marine Drive, had welcomed the HC's suggestion.
"I thank the High Court for voicing Mumbaikars against the wrongfully imposed LEDs on Marine Drive, that stole away its charm. Marine Drive is known as the Queen's Necklace. I'm not against LEDs, but that identity known to Mumbaikars and tourists must remain forever. I am glad that Marine Drive will glow in gold again and the charm every Mumbaikar missed, will be restored with honour," he had tweeted.