Most of the solar lanterns installed in the name of development of rural regions allocated in 14 unions of Nawabganj of Dhaka do no longer work, alleged locals.
The lights were supposed to collect energy from daylight and light up at night, but most of them stopped functioning few days after those were installed due to the irregularities and lack of maintenance.
As a result, darkness shrouds the upazila’s unpaved roads, causing numerous problems for the locals.
Locals said in order to illuminate religious and educational institutions, graveyards and rural roads, these solar systems were set up in the last fiscal year under the funding from KABETA, TR Project of the Upazila Disaster and Relief Department. IDCOL established the solar systems in different areas of Nawabganj.
Locals further said that most solar panels installed in 2016/17 fiscal are not working anymore. Many lamp posts have fallen out of neglect in various rural areas, despite the fact that according to the contract those were supposed to last at least 3 years.
As per the contract, 20 years were given as guarantee for solar panels and 5 years for batteries.
Locals alleged that whenever they inform, the PIO office assure that the lamps would be fixed.
However, locals are finding the lamps and batteries fixed or replaced even after repeated complaints.
The contractor is also nowhere to be seen. There is no supervision of the maintenance of these irregularities, locals alleged frustrated.
Abul Kalam Azad, a leader of farmers in Nawabganj, said that a new tender for solar lights is created every year by the Upazila Project Implementation Office. He considers the solar project to be a waste of social funding for development.
The Upazila Project Implementation Office said that in the current fiscal year, Tk 38 lakh 42 thousand has been allocated for TRO project to be set up in different areas of the upazila approved under the normal scheme of Kajer Binimoy Khaddo, and approved by the concerned ministry. But no institution has been able to get the money because of it not being released. They also said that the Ministry did not give decision on the organization that will do the implementation work.
A total of 40 lights will be set up in the general category of TR project. There is a written record of the purchase of each lamp at Tk 56,955, but the Upazila Project Implementation Office said that there are some technical errors with the solar panels.
These have already been identified and the contractor was called to fix them, they added.
Upazila executive officer Md Tofazzal Hossain said that the organization supposed to do the work could not start because they did not get the required work order.