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Road lights give war veteran sleepless nights

The phrase ‘spreading the light’ certainly has a positive ring to it- but not for 82 year-old Second World War veteran, Jayant Anjarlekar, who is allegedly spending sleepless nights for over a year now, owing to a set of powerful tubelights on a private road, just outside his bedroom window that flood his house at Vile Parle East, every night.

“The sun never sets in our house, from 6.30 pm onwards, there is so much illumination coming directly into our house, till the wee hours of the morning that it is simply impossible to get your eyes shut,” said Anjarlekar, a resident of Sahavas building. He’s practically bedridden and needs support even to stand.

WWII veteran Jayant Anjarlekar in his bedroom. PIC/SHAILESH BHATIA

The ex-serviceman, who was a craftsman with the armoured division of the Indian Army way back in 1945, claims that putting up thick window drapes hinders ventilation. “ I am on constant medication for an old head injury, which is aggravated if I sleep under a fan. With the drapes drawn, it gets so claustrophobic and warm, especially during summers, that it is difficult to explain. We have made numerous complaints to the neighbouring society requesting them to slightly tilt the lights on humanitarian grounds, but to no avail.”

Producing copies of the complaints, Anjarlekar’s son, Alhad informed that they approached BMC officials, who personally visited their flat at night to verify the facts of the case. After spending a considerable time, they were convinced about the depth of the problem and subsequently wrote to the power company Reliance Energy to intervene. SMD has all the copies of the letters.

“Being a private road, both the BMC and the power company could not do much to ease the situation. The BMC marked a copy of their findings to the Vile Parle police station, but in spite of their personal intervention, the problem persists. We never asked for the lights to be removed, but only want our problem to be solved, which can be done with minimal effort, by either shifting focus or putting some kind of light barrier at the source,” said Alhad.

Assistant police inspector Hirdekar, from Vile Parle police station, confirmed the receipt of the letters from BMC but stated that being a civil matter, there was nothing much that they could do.

“We visited the Amogh Adjure building and requested the members to tilt the light a bit so that it does not enter Anjarlekar’s bedroom directly, but they say it is their private road, so they are at liberty to do as they please,” said Hirdekar.

When contacted, the building’s secretary, Uttam Bhogle justified the lights on the grounds that they deterred criminal activities and also kept the stray dog menace in check.

“We have a 100-ft private road, which is not lit by the BMC. Post sunset it gets pitch dark here. Acting on the complaints from ladies in the area and senior citizens, the lights were installed. In the larger interest of the society, we cannot remove or tilt them to please one or two individuals. In the last one year they should have got accustomed to the lights, if not they always have the option of putting up thick curtains,” he suggested.
 

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