Better, brighter street lights soon

NEW DELHI, DEC. 27. Did you know that in this power-starved Capital, up to 50 per cent of streetlighting goes waste? Being unfocussed and off target, it even causes light pollution very often resulting in serious accidents.

Seized of this grave problem, the Delhi Vidyut Board recently asked the Indian Society of Lighting Engineers (ISLE) to carry out a study and prepare a proposal for standardisation of lighting across Delhi. Their recommendations have already been finalised and submitted to DVB for consideration.

``We should be able to control lighting in such a way as to derive maximum benefit,'' advocates ISLE president, Mr.H.S.Mamak. ``Our study suggests that much of streetlighting in Delhi is improper. To solve this problem, we have suggested widespread use of high-mast lighting and introduce cut-off lanterns on poles.''

Already, high-mast lights have been installed at a dozen places in the New Delhi Municipal Council area, including four in slum clusters. ``We would be introducing high-mast lighting at 16 more places by next year-end,'' dismissed Mr. D.N.Gupta (Chief Engineer) Electrical, NDMC.

Though there is no reliable data to suggest that poor streetlighting contributes to accidents, the fact that a vast majority of motorists in the Capital use fullbeam is proof enough of lack of effective lighting. ``Streetlighting is not only inadequate, but is varied at different places,'' says Mr. Rohit Baluja, president of the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE).

While the advantage of high-mast lighting is that it floodlights a wider area, use of cut-off lanterns helps to focus light on the street. The earlier widespread use of incandescent and fluorescent lights -- which often confines lights to a narrow and small area -- is slowly being dispensed with.

Similarly, the use of non cut-off lanterns and semi cut-off lanterns has been widely prevalent in Delhi. The result is that large portions of street remained dark in spite of lighting poles at regular intervals. ``We have now installed cut-off lanterns at four places -- Bhairon Road, Mathura Road, Khel Gaon Marg and Chanakyapuri area -- on an experimental basis,'' says Mr. D.P.S. Sachdeva, DVB's Superintending Engineer (Streetlight). ``These are automatic on-off devices which switch on at dusk and switch off at dawn.''

Following the ISLE recommendations, the DVB's Planning Department has now formulated a new design for poles which are to be put in place in various residential colonies.``The specifications relating to better lighting and better poles have already been approved by DVB,'' says Mr. Sachdeva.