How safe would you feel if you had to walk down a pitch dark road at night, even for a few metres? Such is the plight of the residents of Geeta Nagar, who have to walk from their homes to the main road or vice versa in complete darkness for a stretch of about one and a half kilometres. Ganesh Murthi Nagar road, which connects Geeta Nagar to Dr Homi Bhabha road, has no streetlights at all. BEST has very recently given their approval for putting 28 streetlights in the area.
Geeta Nagar resident Pyare Lal Kashyap says, “After dark the road becomes really unsafe. There have even been incidents of people getting mugged. Anti-social elements take advantage of the lack of streetlights and rob people. They often hide behind the cars that are parked along the road and wait for their victim to come. All this is possible only because there are no streetlights. Most of the times the victims who get robbed are people who do not belong to Geeta Nagar and are therefore unaware of the dangers lurking in the dark unlit corner of the road or behind the parked vehicles.”
Kashyap adds, “The bus service to Geeta Nagar was started around two years back, but we have to renew the permission every three months. No doubt after the launch of the bus service, it is safer for residents to commute, but the concept of renewing the permission every three months is just absurd. Also, the last bus comes in at 7 pm, after that we are on our own. A lot of times even the taxi drivers refuse to come here after dark because there have been instance of them being robbed while returning.”
Brijesh Mishra, a taxi driver from Geeta Nagar, says, “One of my employers had given me his vehicle, so that I could come early in the morning for work. I took the car and parked it. In the morning, when I got ready to leave with the car, I was shocked. The back window was broken and on checking, I found that the thieves had stolen the audio system. I just did not know what to do. It is just so dark here and with no streetlights it really makes it easier for the thieves. We do not want to come here after dark because we fear getting robbed. It is a long stretch and often while returning we are stopped by thieves on the pretext of going somewhere and then beaten and robbed.”
It is not restricted to just audio systems, tyres and petrol are also stolen from the car. Many a times, when a resident is about to leave for work, he finds his vehicle’s petrol tank empty. Rakesh Gupta, another resident, says, “It is not just about the vehicles, even the women feel unsafe after sunset. Most of our women work and while returning from work, they are often victims of molestation. All this takes place because there are no streetlights. The whole area is dark and anti-social elements just lie waiting for their victim. All the victims, be it taxi drivers or residents, they are unable to see the faces of their assailants because there are no streetlights.”
Akash Raj Purohit, a BEST official who has been following this issue very closely, says, “For sometime I have been drawing the attention of BEST to put street lights on this one and a half kilometre stretch as I know about the dangers which the residents face. They have given their approval and we are planning to put up 28 streetlights in the entire stretch. We are just waiting for an approval from BMC. Once they have given their nod, we will go ahead and put the streetlights.”