SMC fails to repair street lights
SRINAGAR: A call from the Chief Minister’s residence to fix a minor snag in lighting system forces a lineman to wind up from an uptown locality and leave the damaged street lights unattended. This happens because the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is facing dearth of manpower. As a result hundreds of damaged street lights await repairs causing immense trouble to the city dwellers. On the official records, the city boats installation of 45,000 street lights but on ground only a few of them are functional.
On every sundown, the streets in entire Srinagar city plunge into darkness even if there is no power outage. The street lights meant to illumine the city roads lie in damaged or unrepaired state in most parts of the city causing massive inconvenience to the common people.
Joint Commissioner (electric) at SMC Abdul Majeed Rah admits that most of the street lights were out of order. “We don’t have enough manpower to fix the problems,” Rah said.
The concerned people lodge complaints with the SMC but to no avail. “From October 17 to January 21, the SMC received 583 complaints and repaired more than 450 lights,” an SMC official told Kashmir Reader.
“We require a full-fledged electric division to handle the street lights and related works in the expansive city. On the contrary, we have just one technical AEE that too on deputation from the power development department,” Rah said.
Rah says the understaffed SMC cannot trace out faulty street lights unless people come forward with the complaints. “We dispatch our linemen places where repairs are required but generally the response gets delayed because of the dearth of staff,” AEE (electric) Nazir Ahmad Malik said.
Apart from the jurisdiction of Srinagar district, the SMC takes care of half of the districts of neighbouring Budgam and Ganderbal.
“To cater to 48 wards, we require a minimum of 48 linemen but we have only 25 of them at disposal. One repair work requires a team of six technicians including a foreman, a lineman and four need based workers,” Malik said.
He said that on occasion of religious ceremonies like Eid-e-Milad or Muharam, we have to depute the entire staff in particular areas. “If some repairs work is required in other areas during this period, we are unable to manage it,” he admitted.
Similarly, the VIPs are on priority list. A foreman said that they had to wind up repair work from Gulshanbagh locality of Hyderpora when we they were summoned by the officers to fix a fault at Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
“If there was adequate staff available, both areas could have been managed simultaneously,” he said.
Malik said that fluctuation in electric supply during the winter months is one of the major causes for damaging street lights.