Dreading the dark streets

The area where I live – Jal Vayu Vihar Noida (Sector 25) is not at all well-lit. I think good lighting brings a feel-good factor to a place. This problem is prevalent over all of Noida. There is a huge population of senior citizens in our area – many of who have relocated to Noida after retirement. It is essentially an Air Force and Navy sector.

More than half of the houses here have senior citizens – many of whom live alone after losing their spouses. They are leading a life where they need to be careful about everything. But let alone the bylanes, even the main roads in these areas are not at all well-lit. Most of the lights are not working. And those which are working are dim. Some are not adequately placed. At night, when women are returning from somewhere, it becomes difficult to negotiate one’s way.

Our colony has cluster living, with six houses in one cluster. The area behind the cluster is pitch dark as well. Without lights, our residents become an easy target for thefts. Many incidents of thefts have happened already. Thus, security is a big concern in our sector. Had there been proper lighting, these would not have happened.

Sometimes, to light up the cluster, we pay from our own pockets and set up lights. These things should have been taken care of by the Jal Vayu Vihar Awas Kalyan Samiti. We do not have a regular RWA. They are not taking care of these issues. They pass it onto Noida authorities. They, again, are not much bothered about these. I do not blame them, because they have to take care about a 100 or more such sectors.

Our area has a lot of pits and holes. Many roads are not resurfaced well. Thus, when the senior citizens go for a walk in the evening, they often get injured. Though senior citizens are more prone to these accidents, it is risky for even youngsters. Mast lights are put on in parks, but there should be more of these. Also, we need to modernise on lightings. We need to have proper lights which illuminate better and are long lasting. There are no proper lights under the bridges. The lights and trees should not clash with each other. If so, this might cause accidents. Main roads, bylanes and the back side of the clusters – all these should be properly lit.

There have also incidents of molestation and sexual harassment in various sectors due to the lack of proper lighting. Snatching has also taken place. There have also been instances of accidents caused by speeding vehicles. Senior citizens are specially fearful that a car can come and ram into them.

Some are scared to step out of the house due to these hazards. Some walk using sticks, that makes commuting tougher in an area which is dark.

We have a road which divides Sector 25 and 21—which is the main road leading to many other sectors. It has many corporate offices, markets, a school, a community centre. But lighting is deficient here. Pedestrians who have to cross the road from 21 to 25 have to wait for half an hour or more to do so. They feel helpless. There should have been a foot bridge for the senior citizens so that they do not have to face so much trouble to cross the main road.

I have complained several times to our RWA. I have even provided them accurate numbers as to how many lights are not working in such-and-such areas. Through our community newspaper Sangbad also I have tried to throw light on this issue several times. The management committees are least bothered. The Noida Authority does not have the resources to work on these. Whatever the reason, these things should have been taken care of. This is a basic necessity. Another issue, apart from the security aspect, is the aesthetic value. If I would have been in charge of the sector, I would have checked whether there are proper lights. Be it in the day time or night – you should be able to have proper visibility of the place.

Manika Gupta is the Coordinating Editor of Noida’s community newspaper Sangbad.

— As told to Shruti Das

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