Srinagar: Only 50 percent of street lighting has been carried out in Srinagar city and other towns owing to the unavailability of funds , according to officials.
Out of 343 Crore meant for street lighting and Rs 582.21 crore for High mast lighting only 50 percent amount has been sent. Last year, Rs 343 crore was earmarked for the improvement of Srinagar city’s street lighting. This year, however, the Power Development Department (PDD) has said that only 50 percent of the job has been completed, due to non-availability of funds.
PDD officials say that they have “given four directions for installing street lights, in which we have installed street lighting of Srinagar city, heritage light and high mast lights”. The concerned agency has already installed lights in Srinagar city, but due to the unavailability of funds, the agency did not make these lights functional.
As per the official document on the costs involved, renovation and restoration of street lights in Srinagar city and other towns cost Rs 343.1 crore. The total cost of installing high mast lights was Rs 582.21 crore.
PDD Chief Engineer Shahnaz Goni told Kashmir Reader that, “We installed only 50 percent of lights due to funds shortage. The concerned agencies have not agreed to install the other 50 percent of the lights. Once we receive funds, we will release funds,” she said.
Several different agencies are responsible for installing street lights in Srinagar – PDD, Tourism, Housing, Roads and Building and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC). Yet, ironically, large areas of the city still remain in the dark.
An explanation appears to be that the departments always maintain lighting in posh areas and routinely neglect the core city.
The streets of Srinagar, even those leading to Srinagar’s principal medical facilities, the SKIMS and SMHS turn dark soon after sunset. At several places, locals said, they pooled in money and installed fluorescent lights on their own. At other spots, such as Nowhatta, Rainawari and Nowpora, lights were installed, but the areas were facing outages that cut street lighting as well.
“Nine months ago, authorities installed street lights in Batmaloo area. But within the first two months, the street lights turned defunct. I usually reach home late in the evening but due to this grave issue I feel a lot of inconvenience. I request the authorities to take some constructive steps,” said Bashir Ahmad, a shopkeeper in Batamaloo area.
As it presently stands, returning home at the end of the day is nothing but irksome with most of Srinagar making its way by night through unlit streets, past potholes and frequent packs of street dogs that can sometimes become dangerous. Srinagar will heave a sigh of relief if the SMC authorities pay heed to the sorry condition of their street lighting arrangements.
When asked about the situation, SMC Commissioner Riyaz Ahmad told Kashmir Reader, “Many departments install street lights, they have their own jurisdiction and we have our own. We have to cover small lanes, and main roads are covered by PDD, while in tourist spots, street lights are installed by Tourism department as well as Housing department.”
He added, “We have installed 7,000 street lights and they are functional, while we have repaired 1,40,00 street lights.
“We have a full fledged team of 24 to take care of the city’s street lights. Whenever they receive any call for repair, we send the team at the same time,” Riyaz added.