ANANTNAG: Crores of rupees were spent on the installation of streets lights along the 14-kilometer stretch of Khanabal-Pahalgam road; however, most of these lights, now, lie defunct.
The 110-crore beautification project completed in 2008 during PDP-Congress regime included the installation of these lights across the road stretch from Khanbal to Seer Hamdan.
Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, in his public speeches, often makes a mention about the beautification project along the KP road. He has terms it as one among his biggest achievements during his previous tenure as chief minister.
Though the widening and beautification of the road was done, the street lights continue to remain defunct causing much inconvenience to the people during evenings and night.
While few of these lights function from Khanabal to Iqbalabad area, the lights on an almost eight km stretch from Alsarwat School to Seer Hamdan are completely defunct.
“The defunct street lights along this important road cause severe inconvenience to the people during evening and night hours. The authorities have never bothered to set them right or replace them,” the residents told Kashmir Reader.
A shopkeeper, Mohammad Iqbal, said that the lights in the area were functional only for a couple of months after being installed some eight years back.
“I have not seen these lights working except for a couple of months. These lights have served no purpose. This is how the money is being wasted here,” Iqbal told Kashmir Reader.
“This is the only project Mufti Sayeed keeps talking about but who will tell him the crores of rupees spent on the installation of lights have failed to brighten up this road,” said another resident of Mattan, Tariq Ahmad.
The officials of the R & B department which had installed the lights said that they have handed over the lights to Municipal Committee Anantnag and Mattan for maintenance, a claim being contested by the former.
“After the installation of lights we handed over them to municipal committees of Anantnag and Mattan. It is their job now to maintain the lighting system along the road,” executive engineer, R and B division Khanabal, Showkat Ahmad said.
However, the officials of MCM clearly contests the claims of R& B that the lights have been handed over to them while the as the officials of MCA cited the paucity of funds as the reason for the defunct lights along the road.
“We had sent a 21 lakh proposal to the government for repair of the lights but the funds have not been released yet. We have repaired some damaged lights on our own which cost us more than thres lakh rupees,” said an official of the MCA wishing anonymity.
Executive officer, MCM said that the lights have not been handed over to them for maintenance. “Nobody has handed over the lights installed along the road to us nor have we taken over. We have some damaged lights in the interiors of the town but we will be setting them right within a couple of days,” executive officer, MCM, Bashir Ahmad Ganai told Kashmir Reader