Residents of the city have been travelling in the dark since Wednesday evening as the private contractors responsible for maintaining streetlight have gone on strike over non-payment of dues by the municipal corporation. More than 3,700 of the 15,000 streetlights in the city are not working, claimed the contractors.
Representatives of various residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) said the situation has become so bad that people have stopped going to parks or for walks after sunset.
Nearly 125 contractors work for the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG). They also maintain the traffic lights.
RWAs claim that because of the strike, almost 50% of the traffic signals in the city are also not working, which is causing further confusion on the road. Congestions are being reported from major intersections such as Sohna Road and Sector 44 that witness higher traffic.
Contractors alleged that the corporation has not paid them for eight months. More than 500 workers of these contractors have gone on strike and are sitting outside the MCG office in Sector 34.
Anant Ram Fauji, president, contractor welfare association, MCG, said, “Payment of more than `40 crore is outstanding. Despite several reminders, the MCG has not paid the dues and so we started the strike. Our workers switched off the streetlights on Wednesday and stopped working since then.”
Residents say what is adding to their trouble is that streetlights on many internal roads are defunct and have not been repaired by the civic body.
“The need for streetlights is more during monsoon as chances of accidents increase during rains. It is difficult to drive on waterlogged roads without streetlights,” said Ramesh Vashisht, president, Sector 15 part-1 residents’ welfare association.
Residents say the situation on main roads on the outskirts of the city is equally bad and they avoid travelling to these areas at night. Besides, there are hundreds of spots where the authorities have not yet installed poles for streetlights.
MCG, meanwhile, said the contracts should not have gone on strike as the engineers are yet to inspect the work done by them and the payment will be done only after that. Officials from the civic body said that contractors met them nearly 15 days ago over the issue but the engineers have not yet examined the work.
“The contractors should not go on strike and should be patient. We have asked the executive engineer to survey the work done by the contractors and prepare a report. We are not refusing to pay them and the dues will be cleared soon. But before releasing the money, we need to examine the area,” said Rohit Yadav, joint commissioner, MCG.