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April 21, 2019

Rawalpindi plunges into darkness at nightfall


April 21, 2019

Movement on Rawalpindi roads during night has become risky as a large number of streetlights lie inoperative. Pindora Chungi, Saidpur Road, Jamia Masjid Road, Gwalmandi, Iqbal Road, College Road, Eidgah Road, Urdu Bazaar, F-Block Satellite Town, Mareer are the worst-hit areas.

“Not only does it present a danger to us all, but it poses a potential danger to pedestrians who go unnoticed when crossing the street. I have tried to get help in my area where my family and I fear for our safety in a street where no light is present each night. The worrying thing is when we return from our work, our street is completely dark,” says Farwah, resident Qila Mohallah.

“We fear that it may become a prime spot for crime, as nothing is visible outside our gate. We reported the issue to the concerned department with no success and has also brought up the matter with area councillor,” adds Farwah.

“Besides, frequent load-shedding almost every evening has multiplied the sufferings of the residents. Roads, houses and business establishments remain dark during night due to power outages,” says Abid Ali from Chaman Zaar Colony.

“The concerned department is eschewing its responsibility to replacing or repairing faulty streetlights. There are countless concrete, semi-concrete and mud-made roads in the city. Of them, major stretches of roads have streetlight points but not every road, like my area Nadeem Colony,” says Muntazir Mahdi.

The concerned department, however, claims that that it is trying its best to maintain the streetlights. “We replace out-of-order streetlights on a regular basis, but they get damaged during severe winds and heavy shower,” Hussain Imam, an official says.

“The department is also short-staffed. There are hundreds of sanctioned posts and small number of employees. No replacements are made following the retirement or transfer of officials,” adds Hussain Imam.

“More than half the streetlights in the city are dysfunctional. It seems the concerned department has no backup light bulbs and wires in its stores. An official told me that although the concerned department has many maintenance vehicles, but only a few of them are in working order. This is enough to prove how serious the department is about streetlights,” says Reza Asad from Arya Mohallah.

“I do agree that a majority of streetlights are out of order, and only a few vehicles are operational. But, the situation was even worse previously as most of the streetlights were dysfunctional and we got thousands fixed in the last few months,” says Rabaab Haider, an official from the department.

“We are really worried about the situation, and are making sincere endeavours to resolve the issue of streetlights on priority basis,” adds Rabaab Haider.

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