Poorly-lit streets add to the fear factor

Poorly-lit streets add to the fear factor

Due to lack of funds, several street lights in the City remain dysfunctional

There used to be a time when people loved taking strolls near their houses in the evenings but now, walking in a residential area is not the same — because most of these areas don’t have properly functioning streetlights. 

Inadequate: There are hardly any streetlights in areas like Koramangala. dh photo by dinesh s k

Many residents across the City rue that in the absence of proper lighting, their lanes turn pitch dark creating problems for them, including rise of incidents of thefts, snatching and accidents. 

And interestingly, despite the noise and chaos, a lot of people prefer crowded streets to these quiet areas in the evenings as they feel these are safer.

 “It is an age-old problem. Now, people have got used to driving and walking through the poorly-lit streets,” fumes Raksha, a resident of Ulsoor.

She adds, “Whatever lights are functional hardly glow during night time; it is the light from vehicles that occasionally lights up the streets here.”  

Many residents in Koramangala describe the street lights in their area as mere showpieces — especially near the Koramangala Club, where lanes are very poorly lit.

People living nearby say that despite many complaints, nothing substantial has been done about it. 

Roshan, who lives there, says that even riding on those lanes after sunset becomes a problem. 

“The streetlights are perfect showpieces. It becomes very difficult to drive after sunset and the problem becomes worse during the rainy season,” he says. 

He adds, “With no lights and the presence of potholes, riding can be dangerous. Many minor accidents have also occurred due to these non-functional lights. It seems the authorities are waiting for a major accident to occur before repairing these.”

Ask the BESCOM about this situation and it brushes off the responsibility, saying it is the job of the BBMP. Says Venkatesh, the AGM from the BESCOM, “Our responsibility is to only provide the power to these lights and not to maintain them. It is the BBMP which give us the requirement and we fulfill it.” 

When the BBMP was contacted, it was interesting to find out that there is actually no criteria regarding the number of streetlights that should be installed in either a residential or commercial area.

“It all depends on the local contractor as there are no hard and fast rules on how many lights are required per area,” states Govindaiah, the electrical executive engineer of the BBMP. 

He does admit that the City is not as well lit as it was before and he blames the lack of funds for the same.

 “Over the last few years, there are many new areas that have been introduced in the City and since there is lack of funds, we are unable to install streetlights everywhere.

 Plus, on a monthly basis, nearly Rs three crore is used just to maintain the existing lights in the City and around nine crore is spent on energy. So with no proper funds, it does become a challenge to maintain these lights — let alone install more,” he states.

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