GHMC officials say the city could use an additional 25,000 to 35,000 street lights, apart from the existing 4.53 lakh street lights.

Hyderabad needs over 25000 additional streetlights City women start online petitionImage For Representation
news Administration Monday, December 23, 2019 - 18:15

Close to a month after the gang-rape and murder of the 26-year-old veterinarian in Hyderabad, women in the city are demanding that civic authorities install more street lights for better safety.

Women from the city have floated a petition to try and get the attention of officials to the “dark spots” in the city that women perceive to be unsafe. Officials say the city could use an additional 25,000 to 35,000 street lights, apart from the existing 4.53 lakh street lights.

The call for better street lights comes despite there being a national level street lighting programme that’s ongoing in the state. The task of installing street lights in the city rests with the Hyderabad Municipal Development Authority (HMDA) and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

Aila Bandagi Kandlakunta, a gender and mobility expert, floated a petition to the GHMC Mayor Bonthu Rammohan after she realised that the spot next to the Shamshabad toll gate where veterinarian Disha* was gang-raped and murdered was often frequented by her.

“I commute along that stretch frequently. Sometimes I would even wait at that spot for my friends to pick me up. That’s when I realised that it could have been me,” Aila said.

In her petition to the civic authorities, Aila wrote, “I and so many more like me feel scared to pass that road now. Not just that road, almost every other road in the city is like that.”

Aila is not alone, other women in the city share her fear.

Ann John, a public relations professional who often works late, told TNM, “I get down at the ESIC metro station and have to call my husband to pick me up. I just don’t feel comfortable walking towards BK Guda Park area as some parts of the road are dark. I was once harassed by two men on a bike on that road, though my house is just a 5-minute walk from the station. Even if there are street lights, they are covered by trees.”

Alisha Bannoo, who works with Amazon, says she hails a cab each time she has to cross Jubliee Hills Road Number 10, even if it’s a short distance. “The area is dark and I feel unsafe, no way am I going to walk on that road by myself. Even if there are CCTV cameras in the locality, what’s the point of having them if there are no lights?” she asked.

On October 21 this year, the Telangana High Court had instructed the HMDA to install street lights on service roads leading to the ORR on the city outskirts. According to an Indian Express report, as of this month the HMDA has just sent out the tenders for the street lights.

For the rest of the city, the task of setting up street lights rests with the GHMC, which had in 2018 entered into a Rs 270 crore seven-year contract with the Centre-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL). The project was to retrofit all the 4.5 lakh street lights in the city with LEDs. As of this month, GHMC officials said 4.39 lakh street lights have been retrofitted with LEDs.

“Only 2% of the total number of street lights in the city are not functional, mostly due to technical reasons,” said Srinivas, Chief Engineer, electrical, GHMC.

“There is a requirement of 25,000 to 35,000 street lights as the city is expanding horizontally and fast. The decision to add more street lights has to be taken by the GHMC commissioner himself. If there is a need for a new street light, the public can reach out to their area corporator or the GHMC area commissioner. The electrical wing will then do an estimate and see if there is a requirement,” Srinivas added.

* Name changed

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