The process was long-drawn, but their efforts have finally paid off. A small group of Delhi University (DU) students—after almost a year-long campaign comprising repeated reminders, letters addressed to DU officials and an RTI application —has convinced the varsity to improve the lighting conditions of North Campus.
The poorly lit streets, which abet eve teasing, are in for a bright makeover. The varsity will invest about Rs 1 lakh in repairing close to 80 lights and install an additional 23. The change is primarily intended for Delhi School of Economics, the library area and the Arts and Law faculty.
The students had first tried to highlight the problem of insufficient lighting in North Campus after sundown, in the Arts faculty especially, in November last year with the help of the Right to Information Act.
Aditya N. Prasad, a third-year student of Hansraj College, had filed the RTI application on behalf of the Youth Task Force — a student group committed to make the system more accountable through the RTI act — by asking for details on the total number of lights and their condition.
The reply to the RTI application from Delhi University stated that all the 83 streetlights in the Arts and Law faculties were in working order, but when the group visited the site along with a team from the varsity for an inspection, they found that over 20 per cent of the streetlights were not working.
"Some lights were fixed post inspection, but not all. Our letter addressed to the executive engineer GS Gupta in October this year, however, bore positive results as we were once again invited for a joint inspection in November and he has issued work orders worth almost Rs 1 lakh to correct the problem," added Prasad.
However, this move may not fix the problem once and for all. The constant theft of fittings and bulbs, according to Gupta, may undo the efforts taken by the university's engineering department. "The work should be complete in 10 days time, but I will also be writing to the dean of Arts and Law faculty to look into the security aspect and ensure that the new fittings are not damaged or stolen," said Gupta.