Streets away from light

Streets away from light

Two years ago, a college student fractured both her legs after accidentally falling into a stormwater drain under the footpath on Castle Street in Richmond Town.

The incident happened not only because of the missing slabs on the sidewalk, but also because of the absence of streetlights.

The City does not have an equitable distribution of streetlights in all areas. While there are certain roads that are lit till 8 in the morning, with nobody bothering to switch them off, there are places with no lights at all, making life difficult for the residents and commuters.

Madhavi Ranga leaves for home from work late at night. She says she risks her life every day to reach home safely. “On my way home, I need to pass through a few roads which do not have streetlights; the roads are deserted most of the time and I can easily get mugged or assaulted. The authorities concerned should look into the matter and ensure the safety of women at night. The least they could do is instal functioning streetlights,” she says.

Main roads are no better. Harish K S, a daily commuter on the Outer Ring Road, says the stretch from Hebbal to Bellandur, the flyover that connects Kasturi Nagar to Tin Factory, has not had functioning streetlights for two years now.

“Although electricity poles are in place, I have not seen streetlights functioning along the flyover. Even the condition of the flyover is bad. It seems to rattle under the impact of heavy vehicles. It becomes extremely difficult for motorists to commute on bad roads without light,” he says.

A few residential areas are victims of poorly-lit streets where residents cannot venture out after sunset. In Jayanagar 6th Block near Yediyur tank, civic agencies have dug the road and left the ground uneven.

“On the 23rd Cross parallel to the park next to Yediyur tank, there were four sodium vapour lights, but for the past one month, they have been switched off. This poses a risk to safety. The authorities are extremely callous about the problem and nobody bothers to set it right,” says S Ranganathan, a resident.

The Watch Factory Road near Jalahalli is another nightmarish stretch. A resident in the surrounding locality, Amitabh Varma, says many accidents have taken place on the dark road which is in a bad shape.

Poorly-lit streets are not only a menace to motorists, but also a threat to pedestrians. The recent incident of alleged rape of a law student on the Bangalore University campus highlights the safety risks of streets without lights.

“I reside in a PG accommodation on 18th Cross, near the swimming pool, in Jayanagar 3rd Block. Streetlights here don’t function. I cannot safely venture out on this stretch after 8:30 pm. My roommate and I avoid going out at night even during emergency,” says Namrata Havaldar, who works for Alcatel Lucent.

Sonia Antony, who works with Cognizant Technology Solutions, says she is forced to take a longer route as the road to her house near Madivala Aiyappa temple is a dark stretch. “There are lights only towards the two ends of the road. I mostly avoid walking along this road, even though it is a shorter route to reach home,” says Sonia.

There are other streets which are crowded till late night but have no streetlights.

Shankar Mutt Road and Vani Vilas Road junction are telling examples. The pavement here has been appropriated by vendors and a large portion of it is unfit for walking as there are trenches at several spots. Several complaints to the BBMP about the condition of the road and the lack of streetlights have not evinced any response.

There are lights only towards the two ends of the road. I mostly avoid walking along this road, even though it is a shorter route to reach home Sonia Antony, employee, Cognizant

I reside in a PG on 18th Cross, near the swimming pool, in Jayanagar 3rd Block. The streetlights here are not functional. I am not confident of walking on this stretch after 8.30 pm. My roommate and I are hesitant to use the road even during emergency.
Namrata Havaldar, employee, Alcatel Lucent