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Mumbai: Lights out on back road; Lokhandwala residents, activists demand action

Updated on: 20 February,2024 05:11 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Samiullah Khan |

Residents express concern as beautiful landscape lights disappear from footpath, urging authorities to crack down on thieves

Mumbai: Lights out on back road; Lokhandwala residents, activists demand action

New streetlights with missing bulbs on back road

Streetlights installed months ago along the footpath of Lokhandwala back road, covering about 1.25 kilometres, have reportedly been stolen. Residents say thieves boldly steal the streetlights even during the day, and if someone tries to stop them, they intimidate bystanders, who then avoid getting involved despite witnessing the thefts. Their concern grew when they heard about an incident at Joggers Park on the back road, where a security guard was attacked by a thief with a blade while he tried to stop the theft several months ago.

One resident, also a social activist named Parvez Shah, witnessed the theft of the streetlights. Last Saturday, he not only saw the theft but also courageously caught the thief, taking the stolen light from them. He quickly reported the incident to local corporator Yogiraj Dabhadkar, who told Shah to give the confiscated light to the security guard at Joggers Park.

Lights recovered by Shah from thieves. Pics/Sameer Markande
Lights recovered by Shah from thieves. Pics/Sameer Markande

Shah, talking to mid-day, said, “After my evening prayers, around 6.15 pm, I walked along the back road from Yamuna Nagar to Lokhandwala Circle. About 500 landscape streetlights were installed on one side of the footpath in Lokhandwala’s back road, but today only 20 per cent remain; the rest were stolen by drug addict thieves. I saw a group removing lights, so I confronted them and got the lights back. 

They ran away when they saw me. I immediately contacted Yograj, who told me to give the lights to the security guard at Joggers Park. He also informed me that he had informed BMC officials and asked them to file a complaint at Oshiwara police station.” He also highlighted that in recent months, there has been a worrying resurgence of drug-related activities in the area.

Regarding the matter, the reporter tried contacting local corporator Yogiraj Dabhadkar for a response but received no reply. However, local MLA Bharti Lavekar shed light on the situation. Lavekar said the streetlights were installed as part of the Mumbai Beautification Scheme, enhancing the area’s aesthetics. Several months ago, there was a complaint about light theft, leading to their reinstallation after coordination with BMC.

Parvej Shah showing the streetlights from where the bulbs were stolen
Parvej Shah showing the streetlights from where the bulbs were stolen

Initially installed at a lower height, the lights were raised following community feedback. Lavekar informed mid-day, “A complaint about light theft had been lodged with the local police station, and the BMC had taken action. Police have filed a case against unknown persons and are actively investigating.”

Lavekar added that upon contacting the police officer, assurances were given regarding increased patrolling. Lavekar admitted that she was not aware of the recent thefts but promised to talk with BMC and the police to promptly address the issue. However, when the reporter reached out to Senior Inspector Mohan Patil of the local police station in Oshiwara, he denied receiving any complaints about light theft.

1.25 KM
Distance covered by new streetlights

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