Defunct street-lights give tough time to Srinagarites

Lack of dedicated power supply, manual operation plunge roads, lanes into darkness
Representational Image
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Srinagar: Failure of authorities to restore defunct street-lights is causing immense inconvenience to people of the summer capital.

While most of the areas have defunct street-lights, at other places there is mismanagement in operation of the facility due to lack of dedicated power supply.

Residents of various areas like Nowhatta, Gojwara, Hawal, Makhdoom Sahib, and adjacent areas complained of defunct street-lights The residents of Hazratbal, Batapora , Gasso , Chataraham, and nearby vicinities said street-lights haven’t been installed yet.

“Street light issue has been there for a long in Downtown area. Although the officials have installed lights various times, but due to flawed execution of the project we are suffering. If we talk about Downtown, there are areas where various lighting systems are not functional, giving a tough time to locals,” said Abrar Ahmad, a local.

Residents of  areas like Hazratbal outskirts said that main roads are yet to be equipped with street lights.

“We have main roads like Hazratbal Gasso and Burzahama where there are no street lights. Likewise the adjacent areas face the same issue. It gets pitch dark, in evenings and it is difficult for us to walk on these roads,” said Hamid Wani, a local.

 An official from the Power Development Department (PDD) said that SMC was trying to ink an agreement with PDD to provide a dedicated line to street lights so that these don’t go off during curtailments. “However, it never happened due to various issues. The whole street-light infrastructure has maintenance issues which causes the problem,” he said.

“These lights, once installed by SMC, are not maintained properly. If it were handed over to any department like PDD, the whole process would have been streamlined. Interestingly, we also installed high mast polls across Srinagar, where streetlights were never installed by the concerned department. Another issue is that the street lights are manual and have to be turned off and on manually. No agency is responsible for that. There are places where lights are never turned on, and at some places, it stays on round the clock, decreasing its life.  The automatic or sensor-based system was talked about many times, but it never happened on the ground,” said a senior official from PDD.

Parvaiz Ahmad Qadri, Deputy Mayor of Srinagar Muncipal Corporation said that over 2,000 street lights are defunct in Srinagar. He said there were various administrative issues that led to the ill-execution of the street-light project.

“We have installed 65,000 street lights in Srinagar, and we have around the same number of lights in stock that are yet to be installed. The main issue is the mechanism through which the project was executed. We were supposed to have a tri-party agreement with PDD, Housing and Urban Development Department, and the project executing agency. This would have enabled us to give a dedicated power supply to the street lights, which did not happen. The project executing agency has been allotted the contract along with the maintenance of all the lights for seven years. It has been three years, and the project is yet to be completed. Unless the manual street lights are replaced with sensor-based lights with a dedicated power supply, the issue will not be resolved,” Qadri said.

Officials said that a place like the central part of Delhi has only 16,000 street lights, and the system is keeping the roads and streets lit through the darkness. They said there is a unified control system and proper mechanism which is lacking in Srinagar city is pushing it into darkness. They said that the power supply system is curtailment based in Srinagar, where street lights won’t succeed unless a dedicated power supply is provided.

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