SRINAGAR: A year after the authorities began to replace the old lampposts on Boulevard with new ones, the major tourist attraction is reeling in darkness barring a small VIP stretch.
The road is largely unlit despite new poles erected at places.
In 2017, authorities began to erect new black-coloured, cast-iron poles for street lights on the roadside, alongside the old concrete lampposts engraved with state insignia that were to be removed. The project is being executed by the Power Development Department (PDD) which after erecting the poles, digging up the walkways for underground wiring and removing the tiles from the footpaths, suddenly abandoned the work.
From Dal Gate to Hotel Heemal, the new poles are without lights, however from Hotel Heemal to Passport Office, lights have been installed. The stretch from busy Nehru Park to Lalit Grand Palace has the new poles erected but the lights are yet to be installed.
The stretch where the new lamp posts are fully operational is the VIP corridor from SKICC to Cheshmashahi turn, which leads to Raj Bhawan and Tulip Garden. However, from Cheshmashahi turn upto Nishat garden, the stretch is totally in darkness with neither the old lights repaired nor new ones installed.
Many tourism players, visitors and residents have expressed their “displeasure” on removing the old lampposts.
“As I have told earlier that installing new poles was a not good idea. They have very low light. They should have repaired the old ones and utilised these funds in some other places. Now when they have erected the new the new poles why are not they installing the lights as it have been so many months now,” Wali Mohammad Bhat of the All J&K Taxi Shikara Owners Association said.
PDD officials confirmed that the work was left mid-way and cited “shortage of funds” as the reason.
“We had started the work last year and erected the poles. Some lights were also installed as a sample, but we could not install more after the funds were spent. We have received inputs that funds would be released very soon,” said Farooq Ahmad, Assistant Executive Engineer at PDD.
Chief Engineer PDD, Hashmat Qazi, told Kashmir Reader they have been “able to source more funds” which would be released “very soon”.
“The funds would be released in coming days. Since the lights are coming from outside (the state), so it would take around a month to install them,” Qazi said. “After a month the work would be completed.”