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Blackout near Sea Link as copper wires connected to streetlights stolen

Police officials say slum dwellers near the Reclamation road leading to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link have stolen copper wires, causing the street to go pitch dark; speeding vehicles pose a danger to pedestrians who want to cross the road

Every evening, a patch of the highway going towards the Bandra-Worli Sea Link (BWSL) that goes on to south Mumbai plunges into darkness, because the streetlights along the road are not working.

Traffic police say that with cars going at nearly 100 kmph, pedestrians who want to cross the road are in danger, as there are no streetlights on the road. Pic/Atul Kamble
Traffic police say that with cars going at nearly 100 kmph, pedestrians who want to cross the road are in danger, as there are no streetlights on the road. Pic/Atul Kamble

The reason, Traffic police say, is because slum dwellers from nearby areas have stolen copper wires connected to these lights. The patch of Bandra Reclamation road that approaches BWSL sees vehicles zooming away at high speeds every day. Traffic police on duty here report that, with the uncluttered roads, these cars are clocking anywhere from 80 to 100 kmph. “It’s almost like an expressway.

There are slums nearby and couples also sit along the road in the evening, with their vehicles parked nearby,” said a Traffic police official. With no streetlights, the vehicle drivers can hardly see these parked vehicles. Moreover, it is quite dangerous for pedestrians who want to cross the road.

Dark nights
The entire stretch, more than a kilometre long, has been going dark for quite a long time now. After the wires were allegedly stolen, replacements haven’t been made and the lights do not function. While streetlights on the divider work, they aren’t enough to illuminate the entire width of the road.

There is even a joggers’ park along the road, where entry is forbidden after evening. Thus, people are forced to walk on the pitch-black road, a very dangerous proposition. “The slum dwellers nearby have stolen the wires of these streetlights.

There is also no security to man these lamp poles and the stretch is desolate at night,” stated a Traffic cop. Local Bandra police officials also added that anti-social elements also attempt to break bulbs by hurling stones at it.

Streetlights damaged
“These slum dwellers seek to damage the streetlights. So, we have to keep patrolling in the night to prevent such incidents,” said a Bandra police official. “Our men constantly patrol the stretch and security has been tightened in the area,” said Shivaji Kolekar, assistant commissioner of police, Bandra division.

Traffic police sources said they have written letters, and have also had a word, with both Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) the road is under their jurisdiction and Reliance Infrastructure, which provides power to this stretch, to get the streetlights fixed.

Joint Police Commissioner (Traffic) B K Upadhyay assured that they would write to the relevant authorities and ask them to fix the streetlights on the stretch.

Official speak
The MSRDC maintains this road, and has also built the BWSL. Anil Diggikar, managing director of MSRDC, said, “If the road is with us, we will complete whatever work is necessary.” Officials from Reliance Infrastructure stated they would inspect the actual condition of the streetlights before commenting on the issue.

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