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Delhi to be free of dark spots by January, claims AAP govt

In October last year, the Delhi government had started work on illuminating poorly lit stretches. The decision was taken after an independent survey conducted by NGO Safetipin showed that Delhi had 7,438 dark spots.

delhi Updated: Dec 18, 2017 14:54 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times
Once the project is completed, the Delhi government has assigned Safetipin to do a reality check of the dark spots, which the agencies claimed they have fixed.
Once the project is completed, the Delhi government has assigned Safetipin to do a reality check of the dark spots, which the agencies claimed they have fixed.(HT FILE)

Delhi will be free of dark spots by January 2018, according to the Delhi government.

The government had missed the March deadline for lighting up over 7,438 stretches across the city. Data accessed by Hindustan Times shows that the Delhi government and the municipal corporations have fixed 14,274 of the targeted 19,304 LED lights needed to remove dark spots across the national Capital.

In October last year, the Delhi government had started work on illuminating poorly lit stretches. The decision was taken after an independent survey conducted by NGO Safetipin showed that Delhi had 7,438 dark spots. This report was accepted by the Delhi government and the police based on which an action plan was drafted.

“Of the 7,304 LED fittings that were to be installed across north and east Delhi, 5,324 are done so far. This included erecting 3,686 poles of which 3,646 have been installed,” said PWD’s engineer-in-chief Sarwagya Shrivastava.

Shrivastava said the remaining will be installed after North MCD gets electricity connection from the power discoms. “By January, these too will be fixed,” he said.

An SDMC spokesperson said the agency has fixed 8,950 bulbs out of its target of 12,000 till date. “Our aim is to get all dark spots removed by the end of this month,” the official said.

Once the project is completed, the Delhi government has assigned Safetipin to do a reality check of the dark spots, which the agencies claimed they have fixed. “Starting January, a fresh round of mapping will be conducted. This time we are going to start with the spots or stretches which we had marked as poorly lit in our last survey. The process will be completed in two months,” said Kalpana Viswanath, co-founder Safetipin and a women’s rights activist.

The NGO’s crowd sourced survey, conducted over a period of four months in 2016, was based on the perception of safety in relation to nine different parameters. These included lighting, the state of walk paths and presence of people — specifically women — on the streets. Most prominent stretches in central and south Delhi were found to be “unsafe” while north Delhi scored higher on some parameters. Stretches in west Delhi scored the lowest on all parameters except gender use.

For data collection in the project, the NGO has also tied up with cab aggregator Uber.

“We let SafetiPin use our network of driver partners and cars for the safety audits. Depending on the requirements, smartphones mounted on the exterior of cabs also capture night-time photographs of streets and localities. These driver-partners, based at different locations in the city, are trained and work with SafetiPin’s safety auditors,” an Uber spokesperson said.

Some of the unsafe stretches included: Man Singh Road, Pandara Road, Bhishma Pitamah Marg, Moolchand Flyover and the Vasant Kunj-Mehrauli Road. Viswanath said it is about time that more women are encouraged to use public spaces. “This can be done primarily by improving public infrastructure and lighting forms its most important aspect,” she said.

After the Delhi gang rape in 2012, police had conducted a survey of the city’s roads and identified dark spots, which were vulnerable to street crimes. Police control room vans are required to send reports of dark stretches in their areas every week.