Unending tryst with shadows in the dark


Apart from security concerns, lack of proper street lighting makes it difficult for citizens to navigate roads

The rape and murder of a veterinary doctor close to Shamshabad toll plaza in November last year jolted the city out of its complacence towards women’s security.

Among several aspects where loopholes need to be plugged is the city’s lighting, about which a lot still needs to be done, apart from illumination through LED lights.

Problem with the lighting in the city is multi-fold. To begin with, there are several dark spots in the city, where street lamps are yet to be installed. Even where they are installed, they come with a plethora of issues, such as absence of timers and sensors, and some times, the reason cited is lack of power supply.

Residents of the Journalists Colony Phase III in Gopannapalli had to struggle for over four months to ensure that most street lights installed in their area started functioning. Even now, a stretch of the main street is without lighting.

GHMC officials blamed non-availability of timers and lack of ‘earth wire’, which is to be installed by the Electricity department, as cause for the delay. After repeated persuasion, earth wire was installed, and power connection was given, but due to paucity of timers, the responsibility of having lights switched on and off was thrust on the colony residents. “We are still afraid as a portion of the main road has no lights, and with all the vegetation and empty plots in the colony, it is dangerous for people, especially women, to walk through the stretch at night,” says a resident.

Manual operation of the lamps is a problem in Kukatpally too. Almost all the localities in Kukatpally Housing Board (KPHB) and surrounding areas have street lights but they are being managed manually with no timers in place.

Besides, the delay in cutting the tree canopy along the main streets of KPHB, Sardar Patel Nagar, Bhagat Singh Nagar, Vasanth Nagar, Hyderanagar, Bhagyanagar, Vivekananda Nagar, Shatavahana Nagar, HMT Hills, Western Hills, Addagutta Society etc. is obstructing proper spread of lighting.

On certain roads such as Road No. 2 in KPHB Phase I, non-functional street lights have aided open consumption of liquor at night, residents complain.

Even where lighting is provided, it is often not sufficient, and if not a commercial area, where more than half the illumination is done by the sign boards and shop fronts, the much-vaunted LED lamps are not any brighter than blinking stars afar. Thick vegetation makes it all the more difficult.

The two-lane stretch from Suchitra junction up to Indira Gandhi statue in Alwal is a case in point. Though LED lighting has long been in place, high poles and dim lighting makes it difficult for road users to discern the road divider, which had only a few months ago witnessed a fatal accident. Thick vegetation and trees lining the road also act as hindrance to the lighting system. Pruning of the tree branches obstructing the light is an urgent need here, say frequent travellers.

Absence of illumination or less-than-desired level of street lighting, even if it is in just a small strip, is enough to create a scare for many, as the functionality of CCTV cameras is determined by how well lit the area is.

For motorists too, inadequate lighting hampers the sight of people crossing the road. Gachibowli’s upmarket address in the western part of the city does not help its illumination much.

A stretch of the link road from Old Mumbai Highway to J.V. Colony in Gachibowli does not even have street lights. But for the neon lights of a restaurant and an apartment complex near a water body, the stretch is dark enough for people to bump into each other. Improvement in street illumination here could also help prevent misuse of the Barla Kunta lake.

Same is the case with the road from and to DLF and other IT office complexes, and surrounding areas which are home to a large number of boys’ and girls’ hostels.

While such is the plight of the residents, motorists getting down the Gachibowli flyover towards the ISB junction caution against accidents waiting to happen because of ill-lit stretch. Pedestrians, particularly if not wearing a bright colour or waving their lit-up mobile phone screens, are difficult to sight when they step down from the median.

Often, visibility of the road too is dependent on the level of illumination. The pothole-ridden stretch of Road No. 45, Jubilee Hills, has not been laid for long as flyover works to be taken up soon. With no illumination, motorists cannot clearly see the potholes till they land in them. Though the suggested speed limit on this stretch is 10 kmph, functional street lights can help avoid accidents.

(Inputs from M. Ravi Reddy, N. Ravi Kumar, B. Chandrashekhar & K. Shiva Shanker)

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:34:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/unending-tryst-with-shadows-in-the-dark/article30562030.ece

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