There is something very dark about Dwarka. Especially in its service lanes. Almost all are devoid of street lights.
The dark lanes along the Master Plan roads are, in fact, a blot on the name of Dwarka, one of the most planned satellite localities of Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
When questioned about this, DDA officials nonchalantly point out that there is no proposal to illuminate the lanes, as these are supposed to get sufficient light from the electric poles on the central verge of the Master Plan roads.
One of the officials confirmed this. “The service lanes were planned in such a way that they could be illuminated by stamp polls along the Master Plan roads," he told City Spidey. "You can see the pattern of electric poles installed across the sub-city.”
However, the light from the stamp polls along the main roads is obstructed by overgrown trees on footpaths. Over the years, Dwarka has gone for extensive tree-planting drives. This, though a great step, has added to the problem, as there is no upkeep of trees here.
The trees dotting the length of the Master Plan roads have grown so dense that they obstruct the light from the poles. Consequently, service lanes are shrouded in darkness. Even occasional pruning of the trees has failed to resolve the issue.
Meanwhile, these dark patches have become happy hunting grounds for antisocial elements. Taking the cover of darkness, people consume liquor and drugs in the open, and carry out various illegal activates in these lanes.
Posh localities, including sectors 9, 6, 10, 7, 4, 5, 3, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 19, are the worst hit.
Rakesh Mehra, a resident of Saksham Apartments in Sector 10, said, “In our locality, trees are so dense that service lanes turn pitch dark after sunset. Nobody wants to risk walking down these lanes then."
However, on small stretches of sectors 6, 9, 22 and 23, residents say they have set up street poles along the footpath and society boundary walls.
Recounting the success, president of the Federation of RWAs, Sector 9, Advocate KS Bhati, said, “Residents of Sector 10 have taken up the matter with area representatives and the concerned authorities. The result is there for all to see. Streets are illuminated with LED bulbs now.”
Meanwhile, residents of Dwarka are demanding infrastructural changes so these service lanes can be kept illuminated afetr dark. Madhury Varshney, president of Dwarka Forum, said that they have repeatedly approached civic agencies and the police for a solution to the problem. “I request the DDA and the concerned agencies to take this matter seriously and do the needful as soon as possible,” he added.
When contacted, Sandeep Mehta, chief engineer, Electrical, DDA, told City Spidey, “Though complaints of dark stretches come under planning, I am duty-bound to attend to them.”
He appealed to the residents to write to him about the dark stretches so he could do something about it.