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Sparking success: Kolkata LED pilot brightens lives

13 April 2011
Sparking success: Kolkata LED pilot brightens lives

INDIA: Haldia in West Bengal is the second Indian city to feature in The Climate Group’s global LED project, which is supported by the HSBC Climate Partnership and aims to rapidly up-scale LED technologies across the world. Sparked by the success of the 2010 LED pilot in nearby Kolkata where energy efficient lights are already brightening up the local community, the Haldia Development Authority is undertaking a pilot to install 290 LED lights on one of the city’s most important roads from July 2011.

India's first LED pilot was launched in Kolkata, implemented by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation and Bureau of Energy Efficiency to test the performance of 273 LED installations, 20 of which have been installed around the city’s revered Kalighat Temple area.

“These streetlamps have not just lightened up the surroundings, but also our lives”, says Kolkata resident Ashok Chakraborty, 58, as he points towards the LED streetlights around the Kalighat Temple. At dusk, as the sunlight slowly fades out, the locality of this 200 year old temple gradually wakes up to its share of energy efficient brightness. That’s because many of the traditional High Pressure Sodium Vapor street lamps around the historic temple area were replaced by energy efficient LED lights, as part of a groundbreaking LED Street Lighting pilot project currently being facilitated on some of Kolkata’s arterial roads.  

The lights have been well accepted by the beneficiaries, which in the case of the Kalighat Temple, are the shop owners and the thousands of visitors who find solace in the holy temple every day. Sujit Manjhi, 24, works in one of the shops that sells flowers and sweets near the Kalighat temple, and says that the LEDs help him see more clearly: “Under the HPSV lamps our vision would often get hazy. But now that we can see things clearly, even far off things, it helps in roping in more worshippers to our shop during the busy hours.”

Although many of the shopkeepers say that the lights are less bright, they’re happy with the LEDs’ performance overall. Ranjit Rai, 45, has lived near the temple his whole life and now owns a shop there: “These white lights take a little time before we realize their luminance, but they’re far better and have a higher clarity level than the ones we had before.” Ranjit Rai also appreciates that the lights have had no technical snags since October 2010 when they were installed, and even benefit from attracting less seasonal pests: “The covering cases of the old yellow lights used to be full of small insects which reduced the brightness and made our lives difficult. Now it’s much better.”

Visitors to the temple have also noticed the benefits of LED lighting. Manu Das, 45, has been a regular visitor to the temple for the last three decades: “In all these years, I have never seen the evenings around the temple area light up like day. Apart from being refreshing, it’s good to know that these lights consume less electricity and hence have less emissions.”

The successful Kolkata Street Lighting Project is one of many influential LED pilots lighting up leading cities around the world, including Hong Kong, New York and Quebec, and helping advance a Clean Revolution in the global lighting sector.

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