The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Standing tall but powerless

Ranchi, June 2: Strolling on the streets after sunset is dangerous for city residents. Reason: powerless streetlights.

The streetlights in some sectors of the state capital, including Harmu-Birsa Chowk Raj Marg, might remain powerless till monsoon.

“Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) told us that it would not be able to power streetlights in various areas,” said Mukesh Kumar Verma, the deputy administrator of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC). “We are waiting for the monsoon to arrive so that consumption of power is less and JSEB is able to supply power to streetlights,” he added.

As RMC authorities failed to convince JSEB, many city streets, including Birsa Chowk to Kishoreganj on Harmu Road, Karam Toli Chowk to Albert Ekka Chowk, Kutchery Chowk to Albert Ekka Chowk, Lalpur, to Kokar Chowk and Tharpakna to Lalpur are plunged into darkness after sunset.

Moreover, power supply in those roads that are under JSEB is erratic. “Even those roads where power supply is available, streetlights are not useful for too long,” Verma said. Ironically, all the roads where JSEB has stopped supplying power are important points of the city.

The Harmu-bypass Road, which has also has been hit due to power crisis, is the most important of them all. The road connects the secretariat of the state government with VIP’s residences, including those of Governor and the chief minister.

Interestingly, Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni also stays here. Besides, the state office of the Bharatiya Janata Party is also located on Harmu Road.

Several locations, including Morabadi, which houses the official residences of the chief minister, chief justice of Jharkhand High Court and deputy commissioner of Ranchi are still waiting for streetlights.

Lack of proper lighting facility is not a new problem in the state capital. Earlier, it was found that streetlights of several roads were not functioning properly.

The problem had resulted in a PIL in court, questioning RMC on the issue. While addressing the PIL around two years ago, the court asked RMC for answers. When it said it lacked sufficient manpower to maintain the streetlights, the civic body was directed to hand over the task to private parties. Later, Larsen and Toubro, a private player, was engaged in the task.

However, at present, the task has been forwarded to Bright Neonsign Private Limited, a Patna-based group.

“Our men regularly tour the roads at night and check the streetlights. We are unable to maintain them due to poor power supply,” said D.K. Verma, the director of Bright Neonsign. Verma said he had apprised RMC about it.

The newly elected mayor and the deputy mayor have also promised to provide streetlights in the state capital. But promises are seldom kept.

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