This street is unsafe for women

Once the sun sets, this two-and-a-half-kilometre stretch in East of Kailash with non-functional streetlights, turns into a happy hunting ground for eve teasers and a nightmare for locals.

The festival of lights is just a week away, but residents of East of Kailash (EoK) in south Delhi see no light at the end of the tunnel. For the past 20 days, at least a hundred streetlights in the area haven't been functioning. In particular, a two-and-a-half-kilometre stretch in the area has turned into a spot of bother for residents. The problem is more acute for women, as they feel dreadfully unsafe while passing through the area after sunset.

Zero visibility: The streetlights on this stretch in East of Kailash
stopped working 20 days ago. Pic/Subhash Barolia

According to residents, three blocks in the area - D, E and F - are bearing the brunt. Though many complaints have been made to the authorities, no action has been taken yet. The non-functional streetlights include both residential as well as commercial ones.

Lights out: The road in question in East of Kailash, New Delhi.
Pic/Subhash Barolia

Pitch black
"It's almost been a month that the streetlights in our area are not working. We have made repeated complaints to all the authorities, but they are just busy passing the buck. We don't want any decorative lights; but streetlights are a must in any area," said KK Mittal, general secretary, Residents' Welfare Association (RWA), E-block, East of Kailash.

The association has made complaints to both the local power distribution company BSES as well as Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD). But locals say, both the organisations are blaming each other. "We have informed MCD and BSES about the problems, but they were least interested in taking any action. We were told that a separate department was formed during the Commonwealth Games (CWG) and we were asked to contact them. The work by the corporation is completely inefficient," added Mittal.

Preeti Anand, a resident of D-block said, "Delhi is such an unsafe city. And most of the crimes take place in south Delhi. Knowing all the facts, the authorities are not taking any action. The main problem is that no one is ready to take the responsibility. It's unsafe for us to walk in the area. People try to take advantage of the situation. But the authorities are running away from their responsibilities."

'Feeling 'light-headed'
"It's really sad that despite so many complaints, no action has been taken. And, the worst thing is that after all the efforts, we still haven't gone anywhere when it comes to implementation. Infact, there is no help line number where we can register our complaint. It's a main road which is used by all the residents of the area. There is not even a maintenance or complaint centre in the area," said another resident of the area, Karan Aggarwal, who has been trying to find some answers for the last ten days.

Deepti Naidu, a resident of D-block, said, "The authorities should take apt measures to improve the functioning of streetlights. It's not safe for women, particularly for those who work in MNCs and return home late, to have no street lights working in the area."

The other side
Jagdish Mamgain, chairman, Works Committee, MCD, said, "The concerned authority is BSES; we are responsible for parks etc. But, it does not matter. The problem should be solved, whether it's by BSES or MCD. I will definitely look into the matter, so that the situation is resolved before the festival and residents are able to enjoy the celebrations."

"As the streetlights are on the main road, they are maintained by MCD. We are responsible for those which are inside residential areas. We have checked in our records and the lights do not come under BSES," said the official spokesperson, BSES.

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