More than a thousand 'blind spots' descend into darkness when the sun sets on the Capital. Located near, or in, residential colonies, schools, colleges and Metro stations, residents avoid these roads out of fear and the police tread with caution.
A survey by Delhi Police across 161 police stations, revealed that at least 1,528 areas either don't have functional streetlights or no streetlights at all.
With 730 cases of snatching, 8,220 cases of motor vehicle theft and 308 cases of murder being registered till July 31, the harried police have written to the State Home Department, detailing the locations of these 'vulnerable' stretches.
"While the SHOs are trying to get the local authority to repair streetlights, installation of new ones can be done only when the competent authority sanctions them," states the letter by Dharmendra Kumar, special CP (Law and Order), to Arvind Ray, Principal Secretary (Home), Delhi Government. The letter was accessed by HT.
Of these blindspots, 280 lie in southwest Delhi. East and outer Delhi have 251 and 223 such spots, respectively. HT surveyed many of these locations after sunset and not only found them in deep darkness, but even bereft of police presence.
At south Delhi's Malviya Nagar, not a soul could be seen on the narrow street near the Metro station that goes to the police station. "Though I can walk down home in 10 minutes from the station, I take a detour when I get late or ask someone to pick me up," admitted Yogita (name changed), a resident.
Things weren't too different near two schools on Malcha Marg in the New Delhi district. While there was police patrolling on the main road, no barricade had been put up outside the schools.
"The problem is similar in Rohini too. Residents of apartment complexes near the Japanese Park in Sector 9 suffer the most. Either electricity poles are located too far away or don't work," said RK Manchanda of Star Apartments RWA.
Authorities, meanwhile, claimed they were doing all they could to rectify the problems.
"We routinely get a list of non-functional streetlights from the police and our own officials, which are rectified immediately," said a discom official. "We have 99.7% functionality," said Ajey Maharaj, spokesperson, Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited. "It takes us a maximum of 24 hours to rectify such problems."