The decorations that had been installed before the Commonwealth Games last year to beautify the city's streetscape have started disappearing one by one.
Thieves and vandals are having a field day stealing/damaging fittings including fancy streetlight poles, bus shelter roofs, safety grills, etc., that were installed before the Games.
New Delhi Municipal (NDMC) had spent crores of rupees to beautify the entire stretch starting from Baba Kharak Singh Marg to the Ridge area before the October Games. The stretch now dons a shoddy look with a number of streetlights vandalised. And this is just one example.
The top halves of majority of such light poles have been damaged and parts stolen. In addition, lampposts have also been stolen. The roofs of a number of bus Q-shelters that were made of aluminium have also become a target of anti-social elements. Vandals haven't even spared lamps made of concrete.
What is worse is that the civic agency has to spend more money replacing them, as cases of theft are not covered under the warranty period of the contractor who had installed them.
"Cases of vandalism and theft have become commonplace. We have also lodged complaint with the police. On many stretches, we have already started replacing the poles," said NDMC spokesman Anand Tiwari.
Seju Kuruvilla, Additional DCP (New Delhi), said, "We have received a complaint from NDMC about damage of public property in New Delhi area. They have requested us to increase patrolling and we have done that."
He said the police found it was mostly drug addicts who damaged public property. "We have nabbed 20 drug addicts in past two weeks," he added.
To ensure that footpaths that were streetscaped by the civic agency ahead of the Games look well lit, the NDMC had installed streetlights shorter in length than the usual ones. The roads where these were installed included Park Street, Mother Teresa Crescent, Old RK Ashram Marg, Udyan Marg, SP Marg, Subramaniam Bharti Marg among others.
"At many places even tiles have gone missing. Most of the tiles installed in the footpaths were of international quality and very expensive,” said a senior NDMC official. The government had constituted a team under Delhi chief secretary to devise plans of maintaining these street furniture.