In what could only be attributed to sheer bureaucratic apathy, the 35 street lamps installed between Vishrantwadi Chowk and Airport Road have remained non-functional for the past one year for want of bulbs. Surprisingly, the project remains incomplete despite the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) receiving complete funds from the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), under which the project was sanctioned.
As the work on each pole was estimated at around Rs 12,000, the entire project was pegged at about Rs 5 lakh. The JNNRUM officials had handed over the entire amount to civic officials before last year’s PMC budget. “Vishrantwadi Chowk is the main market place. We have been pursing the issue for last one year, but are still awaiting response from the authorities. The 35 street lamps cover a stretch of over two kilometres from Vishrantwadi Chowk to Airport Road. Absence of bulbs has plunged the entire stretch into darkness,” local activist Nataraj Salunkhe said. He also alleged that civic officials had failed to utilise the funds.
Superintendent engineer and electric poll department head Shriniwas Kandul said, “The cost of each bulb is Rs 5,000. It is a JNNURM project, so I don’t know why the work has been delayed for the last one year. I’ll be able to comment on the issue only after discussing the present situation with the JNNURM authorities.” Since the entire stretch of road between Vishrantwadi Chowk and Airport Road was built under JNNURM, maintaining footpaths, flora, street lamps and other minor infrastructure was the responsibility of JNNURM and PMC officials. Local ward office do not have say in such projects.
Police Inspector of Vishrantwadi Police Station Motichand Rathod said, “The area has become unsafe due to absence of light. Two incidents of chain snatching occurred on the stretch in the last three months. Earlier, locals would take late night walks but the frequency has dropped. Also, a fatal accident had occurred on the Airport Road a few months ago.
Ratnadeep Ghodake, a resident of Vishrantwadi said, “Road repair work is on for the last two years. The stretch after Sawant petrol pump becomes pitch dark, making it unsafe during night. Those having residences near the road have reported bicycle thefts. After the chain snatching incidents, two policemen used to patrol the area, but we haven’t seen them for the last few days. People, especially women, avoid the area during night.”
Cost of a single bulb