Passengers have a tough time boarding autos from Zakir Hussain Park near Raj Bhavan in Ranchi on Tuesday. (Hardeep Singh)
Raj Bhavan may be basking in solar glory, but darkness has haunted commuters a stone’s throw from the governor’s majestic residence in the state capital for over a decade now.
The artery, which connects Ratu Road, Kutchery and Kanke Road, is a virtual nightmare for vehicles large and small because blind or missing lights up the risk quotient every day after sundown.
The 50-metre flank of Zakir Hussain Park near Raj Bhavan, currently, has no streetlights installed by the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC). Four sodium vapour lamps were installed in 2009, but they never worked. The high-mast lights in front of Raj Bhavan are barely able to illuminate the stretch because of a dense canopy of trees. In fact, when this correspondent visited the area on Tuesday evening, even they were not working.
Two months ago, a youth from Kanke fractured a leg when a speeding motorcycle hit him while he was returning home around 10 o’clock at night. “I am lucky it was not a speeding truck and just a two-wheeler,” 28-year-old Sonu Kumar said.
If accidents are a commuter’s concern in the area, darkness also breeds devils who torment the fair sex. A young girl was allegedly molested and robbed near Raj Bhavan this winter though the matter was never reported to police.
“The place becomes dark and deserted late in the evening. With eve-teasers on the prowl and policing lax, it is very scary for us women to wait for an auto-rickshaw here,” said a private firm employee, not willing to be named.
Another commuter said she always felt a pair of eyes was following her. “My mind is never without fear when I cross this road,” she added.
During the National Games in 2011, the RMC had installed around 1,000 streetlights across the city, but this crucial stretch was strangely left in the dark.
Eye estimation says the artery near Raj Bhavan will require at least seven-eight sodium vapour lights for optimum illumination. Civic officials promise to do the needful soon.
“I was not aware of the situation because there is a high-capacity light in front of Raj Bhavan to light up the entire area. However, if the place is not properly lit up, the RMC will soon install more lights,” said chief executive officer Dipankar Panda.
He added that they were in the process of identifying roads in the capital where streetlights and high-mast lights are urgently required.