Francis Kodankandath is on a protest, using his art to say ‘let there be light’ on the Arayadathupalam-Eranhipalam mini bypass road in Kozhikode city.

On Thursday, renowned artist Francis Kodankandath manoeuvred his strokes on the canvas in the light of a lit torch. He was on a protest, using his art to say ‘let there be light’ on the Arayadathupalam-Eranhipalam mini bypass road in Kozhikode city.

It has been more than two years since the street lights shone on the stretch, considered a lifeline of the city, courtesy the cold war between the Municipal Corporation, Kerala State Urban Development Project (KSUDP), and the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB).

The bypass road, built under the KSUDP, has the Cooperative Hospital, Sarovaram Biopark, Passport office, and many other important offices situated along it. The Sales Tax office and the District Court are just off the road.

People from areas such as Kottooly approach the city through the bridges located near this road. This is also the easiest way for ambulances from northern districts to the Kozhikode Government Medical College.

But journey along this road is a nightmare due to the darkness that grips it at night. Hundreds of commuters use the road where accidents during night are a common occurrence.

The road is also riddled with potholes and the looming darkness on the stretch is a cover to anti-social elements haunting it during the late hours. There have been many reports on an open robbery on the road at night.

Several complaints have been made and protests staged over the lack of streetlights on the stretch, but authorities have remained largely insensitive to the issue.

Blame game

All that the complaints and protests achieve is sparking a never-ending blame game. The KSEB, washing its hands of the issue, blames the Kozhikode Municipal Corporation, which in turn blames the KSUDP that built the road.

Finally, the blame lands in the Corporation’s court, as the general responsibility of maintenance of street lights in the city limits is the onus of the Corporation. In the melee, the real problem gets buried.

Bleak prospects

Then, there is the war of egos between the Corporation and the KSEB. The Corporation depends on the KSEB for maintaining the street lights in other parts of the city, as the local body does not have the necessary infrastructure. But Corporation alleges non-cooperation from the part of KSEB officials.

So any solution in the equation seems bleak, leaving the public as the real losers.

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