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Drive in the dark to airport
- Streetlights stay switched off on VIP Road stretch in the evenings

Headed for the airport after dusk' Be prepared to drive in the dark for a two-and-a-half km stretch of VIP Road. For, the mercury vapour lamps from Bangur Avenue to Koikhali invariably remain switched off.

“For several hours in the evening, there is no streetlight on the stretch. This is most inconvenient for commuters and makes the road susceptible to accidents and crime,” alleged Tanmoy Mondal, Trinamul Congress MLA from Rajarhat. “I have found the lamps switched off several times last month,” he added.

“There is no problem with the power supply; it is normal. However, since the power supply at the Budge Budge sub-station tripped on Friday, there was no supply for a period,” claimed a CESC official, adding that the complaint would be probed.

Officials of the PWD electrical section, in charge of maintenance of streetlights on VIP Road, dismissed talk of a technical fault. “Apart from some minor technical faults in the wires, there are no major complications,” said a PWD official.

Department sources, however, said that the switch-off could be traced back to the power-supply distribution system in Koikhali.

“During routine checks, we see the lights are on but after that we receive several complaints that a section of VIP Road is in darkness,” they added.

State PWD minister Amar Chowdhury said the matter must be looked into. “I have taken note of the complaint and if a problem is identified, we will sort it out in a few days.”

Officials said a year ago, on VIP Road, near Narayantala, some miscreants had been stealing the electrical wires. “The crime was detected and the police rounded up the gang. We are trying to ascertain whether something similar has happened here,” a PWD official said.

Traffic officials, meanwhile, said it was becoming increasingly difficult to carry out their duties without streetlights, fluorescent jackets or electric batons. “So, chances of accidents on this dark stretch have definitely risen,” said an official of the Baguiati traffic guard.

“And the bushes along the dark road have become the haunts of drug addicts,” added Ajay Nand, additional superintendent of police, Salt Lake.

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