Street lights in Kokar Bazaar area in Ranchi only stand tall, serving no purpose. (Hardeep Singh)
The brutal rape of a minor girl last Wednesday evening in Bariatu has not only sent shock waves across Ranchi, but given women ward councillors of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) a reason to press for well-lighted roads and a slew of safety measures.
To begin with, they are taking stock of the available street lights as most colonies plunge into deathly darkness after sundown.
Councillor of ward No. 4 Sudha Devi, who is also responsible for the upkeep of Bariatu, has asked people of her localities to report whether street lights were functional. “Not only major thoroughfares, deserted areas near colonies should also have proper illumination,” she added.
Sudha’s counterpart in ward No. 5 Husna Ara, however, had a more positive attitude. “I will not say that all streetlights glow, but the condition is not very bad.”
Husna used to look after ward No. 4 earlier. She added that Bariatu and other areas in this ward was well lit and that was why the culprit was identified and nabbed.
“But, to prevent such incidents, all streetlights should be functional. We will find out how many poles lack bulbs and power connection and take necessary steps at the earliest,” the councillor added.
According to her, the need of the hour is to identify the usual suspects, who often indulge in eve-teasing.
Husna said she had started holding regular meetings with residents of her ward since December 20. “I am requesting people, especially women and girls, to give me the names of the usual eve-teasers. I have decided to submit those names to the local police station so that these boys and men are given a warning,” she said, adding that a few women have already come up with a list.
For the residents of ward No. 26, most of the street lights only stand tall on the road, serving no purpose.
Ward councillor Naziya Tabassum pinned the blame on frequent thefts. “Despite best efforts, bulbs and wires often disappear,” she added.
But, according to Naziya, strict and regular patrolling and not street lights will prevent such incidents. And for this, she will request Jharkhand State Commission for Women chairperson to increase the number of Shakti Mobile Vans plying in the city.
RMC deputy mayor Sanjeev Vijayvargiya agreed, adding: “We will hold a meeting with the councillors to decide on what more can be done to ensure safety of children and women.”