aparajit chakraborty  
KOLKATA, 17 JUNE: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation’s decision to install timers to switch off decorative trident lights after 11 p.m. has gone for a toss as most of the timers have become inoperative. 
The decision to install timers after 11 p.m. was taken to reduce power consumption and thereby lower the ever- spiraling electricity bill. The electricity bills of KMC have gone up by nearly three times after rampant installation of trident lamps.   
The timers were installed a year ago. The city was divided into 10 zones and timers were installed on various city roads, including Kalighat, Jodhpur Park, Gurusaday Dutta Road,  Rashbehari Avenue, Chelta, Behala, Suothern Avenue, Gariahat and Behala, S N Banerjee Road, Jawharlal Nehru Road, Lenin Sarani, Bentinck Street, Sudder Street, AJC Bose Road, Shyambazar. The civic body had spent a few lakh to install the timers. The KMC spent Rs 4,500 to install each timer. 
Most of the timers are not working properly. The trident lights, each costing around Rs 18,000, consume around 54 watts. Senior engineers of the civic body, however, refused to divulge the reason why timers are not functioning properly.
In some places in the city it was found that decorative trident lights were not switched off till morning.  A section of officials raised objection that the timers may get defunct after a few months.    
Earlier, it was decided that the lights will be switched off after 9 p.m. Later, municipal commissioner Mr Khalil Ahmed decided to switch off the lights after 11 p.m. as nobody will come to the city to behold the beauty of trident lights. The vapour lights will take care for the rest of the night.  
The KMC’s electricity bill went up to Rs 30 crore from Rs 12 crore after the trident lights were installed. Because of the ongoing financial crunch, the civic authorities had failed to pay the electricity bills to the Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation on time. So, to kill the bill, the KMC had embarked on a new mission ~ install timers at different intersections of the city, Mr Manzar Iqbal, member, mayor-in-council (street lighting and electricity), said: I have never heard that the decorative lights are on after 11 p.m. I have asked the engineers to find out the places where lights are still on after 11 p.m."