Exactly a year ago,the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG) had announced that it would install 54,908 streetlights, including 406 high-masts, to make Gurugram’s roads brighter and safer for commuters.
Driving along the dark stretch of the Gurugram Faridabad Road (GFR) from office, IT professional Parul Arora is wondering what happened to the promised street lights? ” I prefer to use GFR every evening to get home to Sector 56, but when I get a bit delayed in office and it gets dark I am not very comfortable driving through this street on my own.” Parul blames the absence of sufficient street lights and malfunctioning traffic lights for her predicament. “This smooth stretch looks very dangerous at night as it is quite isolated and god forbid if a woman driver has a car breakdown here after sundown!”
The problem of safety due to poor lighting is not limited to the after hours, early morning users also complain of the multiple risks involved in negotiating this stretch in the millennium city. Raji Ananth of Gurgaon Road Runners, who regularly trains along the GFR with her group, narrowly escaped being hit by a car in the wee hours of the morning at the four-road junction near Phase 1. “The dark road is an invitation to disaster and even though we wear reflectors and run against the traffic for our own safety, poor street lighting does put pedestrians and runners at high risk, especially before sunrise,” she laments.
A complaint put forth in 2012 stated that “the 24 km GFR touted as a blessing for commuters travelling between Gurgaon and Faridabad transforms into a dangerous stretch at night as there aren’t any streetlights. This despite the fact that it has at least six vulnerable spots due to many twist and turns and sharp curves meandering through the Aravalies. This has resulted in many accidents and animal hits. Moreover, huge trucks loaded with building material and garbage that frequent this crusher zone add to the risk factor on GFR.”
Five years down the line, the scenario hasn’t changed much and the sense of security among commuters, especially at night, remains dismal. In the last four years, more than 400 accidents, including 136 major ones, were reported from the steep and sloping stretch near Ghatta Gaon due to “bad lighting and flawed design.” People living in Valley View apartments have expressed similar angst as cases of speeding vehicles rolling down into residential complexes have also been reported.
Residents of nearby areas, have urged the authorities many a times to regularly maintain and better manage streetlights. They have also demanded centralized monitoring of traffic signals but to no avail. Road safety expert, Sanjeev Saxena pointed out in an interview that well-lit roads would also help bring down cases eve-teasing.
The Gurgaon-Faridabad Road is regularly used by thousands of commuters from Faridabad, Gurgaon, Manesar, Dharuhera, Sohna Road and NH-8, yet the commuters’ complaints about the dangers along this stretch, especially in the dark due to inadequate street lighting, have fallen on deaf ears. Is there no light at the end of this tunnel? they wonder.