Marine Drive is dark & dangerous

Jamshedpur's landmark Marine Drive, inaugurated six months ago to ensure the steel city stays free of truck traffic most part of the day, has turned deadly dark at night for the last four days as its LED lights have gone on the blink!

By Animesh Bisoee
  • Published 8.01.16
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Trucks, with headlights blazing, ply on a dark stretch of Marine Drive in Jamshedpur on Wednesday. (Bhola Prasad)

Jamshedpur's landmark Marine Drive, inaugurated six months ago to ensure the steel city stays free of truck traffic most part of the day, has turned deadly dark at night for the last four days as its LED lights have gone on the blink!

Commuting has, therefore, become a nightmare in the evening hours. A technical snag has compounded problems that were set off after a number of LEDs, erected on double-armed posts on a 2km stretch of the 11km, four-lane thoroughfare from near the rear-end of Parsee Cemetery in the Circuit House Area to the pump house of Tata Steel in Sakchi, were stolen.

"It's difficult to drive on this stretch because of the darkness. Cars and SUVs taking advantage of the wide road drive at breakneck speed, making it risky for other vehicles. Since Monday, I have started taking a detour through Straight Mile Road to Sonari even though it means an extra 3km that takes about 20 minutes more," said Adarshnagar resident Manoj Kumar Singh, a software professional.

Built at a cost of Rs 120 crore by Tata Steel, Marine Drive was inaugurated by chief minister Raghubar Das in the presence of Tata Steel MD T. V Narendran and a host of other senior company executives on June 27 last year.

The idea was to ensure that the over 2,000 trucks and trailers that carry goods to industrial units in Adityapur and Gamharia daily, use this stretch at specified times in the afternoon (2.30pm to 5pm) and 10.30pm to 6.30am), thereby keeping city traffic free from heavy vehicles during most part of the mornings and evenings.

On Wednesday night, The Telegraph took a drive at night, only to find that the stretch, supposed to be lit up LEDs, was pitch dark. Some of the light posts did not even have LEDs on them.

Jusco, the amenities firm that takes care of various city services, believes the lights have been stolen.

"Residents of nearby slums have stolen some of the LED lights after damaging junction boxes placed on the median of the four-lane road," said a senior officer of the Tata Steel subsidiary, adding that his company had asked the engineering division of Tata Steel to repair the lights before handing over maintenance of the road to them.

A Tata Steel spokesperson said the company was aware of the problem and was working on a solution.

"Lighting has been affected due to damage in the junction box, possibly caused by miscreants. Repairs will take around two weeks, but we are trying to work out a temporary solution in the interim period," said Amresh Sinha.

In the last four days, Marine Drive has witnessed several accidents at night.

"It is very difficult to drive cars, especially when heavy vehicles are speeding by, on Marine Drive. We only hope that Tata Steel or Jusco repair the LEDs at the earliest. Several mishaps do not get reported due to legal issues. At least two-three minor mishaps take place at night because of the poor conditions," said Ravi Prasad Rao, a resident of Vijaya Heritage in Kadma.

Jusco spokesperson Rajesh Rajan said they were yet to take over maintenance from Tata Steel. "We have intimated the company's engineering division to repair the LEDs after which we can take over the project," he explained.