Hyderabad

Citizens continue to grope in the dark

The dark lay-by near Gachibowli which forces people to stand near the well-lit part of the road.

The dark lay-by near Gachibowli which forces people to stand near the well-lit part of the road.  

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‘Street lighting should be aimed at helping pedestrians’

At Narsingi, the Outer Ring Road (ORR) looks like a piece of shimmering jewellery that girdles Hyderabad. Vehicles zip on the road like tracer bullets. But right beside the sparkling infrastructure is darkness. The network of service roads that run beside the long expressway has patches of darkness that can make people start praying.

“We were going to a wedding and took Exit 18; the service road was a dark chaotic place. We could not identify the place. Finally, a police officer guided us to a U-turn near Mrugvani National Park. The road was dark. Even inside a car, we felt uncomfortable,” says Bilon Aristotle, a bodybuilder.

“Street lighting should be aimed at helping pedestrians. Cars don’t need street lights. But our planners put street lights in the median, creating dark spaces on the footpaths. If street lights are on the sidewalks without hindering the walkers, they will serve their purpose,” says Jasmine Singh, an architect and urban planner.

The Gachibowli exit of the ORR where the service road merges and blends into the city traffic shows how even the best-lit roads have blind spots. The lay-by on the road leading to ORR is used to park autorickshaws to allow commuters to get on the vehicles. But it is such a dark place behind foliage that women prefer to stand wait on the road.

A popular mapping application guides people to a network of roads to the new colonies and apartment blocks that dot the western parts of the city. The map guides people on the service roads to apartment blocks in Puppalguda. But if you take them, it is a trial by darkness. The mud roads are lined by temporary tenements of workers that are not lit by street lighting for hundreds of yards (eight yards is the benchmark used by architects). Here, some of the most vulnerable have to live in areas without any street lights. While the vehicle owners eventually get back to main roads with street lighting, the people in temporary colonies live beyond the pale of this basic civic amenity.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:42:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/citizens-continue-to-grope-in-the-dark/article30562123.ece

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