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Landmark lake has a dark side

In November 2013, a resident of Hindpiri was trussed up by a gang and thrown into Bada Talab. He was lucky that the knots unfastened easily and he managed to swim to safety

In January 2014, a gold chain was snatched from a woman near a vat along the southern end of the lake. Her screams for help hadn’t reached police or residents that wintry evening

On July 4, a young girl riding her two-wheeler was pushed into a filth dump by three youths on a motorbike

These are not stray incidents, but alarming cases that mirror a larger picture of rising crime along the southern banks of Ranchi Lake in the absence of streetlights.

Councillor of ward No. 24 of Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), under which the south road falls, conceded that the area had become a haunt for hooligans.

“I have become tired of asking for streetlights in this area. One can perceive the difference between the two stretches of the same lake. The north road is illuminated and bustling and safe; the south road is dark and isolated and dangerous. There is one light near the Chinmaya Ashram at the south-east corner and another near Aughar Baba Ashram near the south-west corner,” councillor Saba Naaz said, adding that she would put in a final request with “mayor madam”.

Besides rowdies ruling the roost, the dismal southern stretch of Ranchi Lake also offers callous milkmen the cover of darkness to dispose of cattle carcasses in the domestic refuse heap, a punishable offence if the culprit can be identified that is.

The popular Bada Talab can be divided into two distinct halves and identified by four prominent landmarks on its four sides. The northern bank hosts Seva Sadan Hospital and the southern has an undesignated garbage dump. To the lake’s east is a Sulabh Sauchalaya and to its west the Aughar Baba Ashram.

Nagendra Dubey, section in-charge (light) at RMC, said installing streetlights along the south road was a difficult task. “It must have been noticed that the mentioned stretch had a 11,000-volt wire, but no service wires. Unless we get a row of 220-volt service wires, streetlights cannot be mounted,” he said matter-of-factly.

Dubey said it was the electricity board’s responsibility to hang service wires. On whether the RMC had ever urged power mandarins to do the same, he added: “I cannot say. I am not aware of it.”

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