ISLAMABAD: Dysfunctional street lights in many sectors of the federal capital may not be fixed even by the end of 2018 as an amount of Rs180 million, allocated four months ago, is yet to be released since Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) and Capital Development Authority (CDA) are still in a tussle regarding the shifting of responsibilities.
Faulty lights are not only hampering free movement of residents during the night but also creating a sense of insecurity and exposing them to criminal mafias which are highly active during nights.
According to an official source in CDA, the concerned department had allocated over Rs180 million for both the installation of new street lights and fixing non-operational ones during the fiscal year 2018-19 which could not be released to execute the project in time.
He said that every effort to get it released was made but the relevant department was told to move the file through MCI and the MCI flatly refused, saying it was not in a position to release the amount due to the paucity of funds.
He said at present only 40 per cent of lights were functional while 60 per cent need to be repaired or replaced.
Though the proposed amount was not enough to completely lighten the capital, however, it would help rehabilitate over 50 per cent of the dysfunctional lights, he added.
Meanwhile, the residents have constantly been demanding timely repair of obsolete street lights, eventually forcing residents to stay at homes due to darkness during late night hours.
Badar Kiyani, a student from G-7 said many complaints had been lodged with the authorities concerned but the issue was still lingering due to undisclosed reasons.
“People are afraid of going outside for their daily chores during night hours and it has made public mobility restricted as increasing crime in the city was a matter of grave concern, especially in the dark hours”, he added.
Another resident of G-8 Kazim Ali Shah informed some incidents of bike and mobile snatching had been witnessed in the past, apparently due to faulty street lights.
It was also noted that the majority of the road lights along city’s tourist’s heart Daman-e-Koh, that draws a significant number of tourists daily, are non-functional, posing serious threat to the safety of the visitors and local residents.
More than half of the lights along the 9km hilly route, having many dangerous sharp curves, require the Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) urgent attention for overhauling to ensure tourists’ and locals’ safety.
Umar Khatak, a motorcyclist said that two-wheelers were more prone to accidents as motorists coming from opposite side use high beams, creating more visibility problem due to darkness on the road.
Responding to this an official from Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) Lights and Maintenance departments, requesting anonymity, admitted that maintenance of lights was the priority of his department and fixation of faulty lights was being delayed due to the shortage of funds.
He, however, held monkeys responsible for non-functioning of the lights and said they break the top structure of the lights where bulbs are intact adding that some bad elements deliberately damaged the lights for the fulfilment of their wicked plans.
The flexible mode of the lights attracts them to play with, thus they get damaged. He also had a justified excuse for the shortage of maintenance staff and vehicles to address day-to-day complaints.
The Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) Police expressed resolve to work closely with the CDA to fix all street lights adding it would help reduce crime ratio and complained about visibility issue faced by their patrolling teams due to darkness in street during night hours.