Unlit roads cause problems to many

Locality check

Ahead of Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) for women’s back gate at National Park in Lajpat Nagar IV the road leads to South Delhi’s Polytechnic for Women and the District Magistrate (DM) office of Southeast district. The road opposite the DM office does not have any functional street lights.

Amongst the recently installed  three polls, only one has a street light which is dysfunctional; and administrating bodies such as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), Bombay Suburban Electric Supply (BSES), Residents Welfare Association (RWA), Delhi Police and the Polytechnic’s administration haven’t paid much attention to improve the condition.

While no untoward incidents have been reported from the area, the hostel’s girls and some other female passerby on the road feel unsafe during late evenings and some avoid getting out of the hostel after 8 pm.

“It is like a rumour in our hostel that some unsocial elements are present on that road where drunk men eve-tease girls. We always tell each other that one must always go there only in groups,” says Meenu Yadav, Zoology Honours student at Gargi College of Delhi University.

During the later hours of the day, after 7pm, the road sees many buses and cars parked with their drivers, which is scary for the women passing through the road. Sometimes, even autowallahs avoid taking the road because it is dark. Apart from the Polytechnic hostel and LSR hostel, the adjoining area of National Park is a host to numerous girls’ paying guest accommodation (PG) where many out-of-station students stay.

“We also heard about a rape here in National Park, about six months ago, but we never found out who it was and what really happened,” adds Yadav.

However, when Metrolife asked B S Jaglan, Deputy Commissioner at DM office if he has experienced any disturbance on the road or if he made any complaints about it, he denies, saying that their office shuts down at 6 pm and the matter of street lights doesn’t come in their jurisdiction.

Similar response came from the administration of Polytechnic. “Earlier there were a lot of slum dwellers residing here, but now they have gone and the area is quite peaceful now,” says Dr R Chaudhary, head of department, Holistic Health and Health and Fitness.

The Amar Colony police station is about 500 metres from the road. According to a Delhi Police official, two lady constables are always on duty at the front and back gate of LSR college and 24 hours patrolling is done on the road.

Ramu, a street vendor who has been setting up his stall of chips and soft drinks outside the Polytechnic for 25 years now, says that after the DM’s office that opened two years ago, the place has been quite peaceful.

“Pehele kafi kuch hota tha yaha. Ladke ladkia aate the gane bajate the, par ab sab theek hai,” he says.

Meanwhile, the RWA of Vikram Vihar and National Park have been complaining about the road to authorities for a long time, but to no effect.

“We are now tired of complaining. Every time we complain, they say it will be done. Nobody says no, but the issue has never been resolved,” says Ashwani Kapoor, general secretary, RWA, Vikram  Vihar.

According to him, since the budget for installing poles is lesser than their maintenance, that’s why the street lights of the road and some park lights of the area don’t work. “Jab takk koi haadsa nahi hoga, koi kuch nahi karega,” he adds.

Also, another road which is outside the Frank Anthony Public School has non-functioning street lights. Praveen Mahendru, general secretary, RWA, National Park, says that the area faces problems with street lights. MLA Madan Lal and MCD counsellor Savita Gupta, who according to Mahendru handle the area’s street lights, have been consulted many times. But this has resulted only in half-done operations.

MCD, on being contacted, said that they are pursuing the issue with BSES. “MCD only takes care of installation of poles and not their maintenance. Maintenance and electrification problems are seen by BSES and we are working on that road (outside Polytechnic) with them,” says an MCD official.

But another official, who requests anonymity, from BSES says that they don’t know about the road. “If there’s anything like this, file a complaint with us. Rest we don’t know about that road,” he says.

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