The dark spots of Smart City

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 06 Apr 2018 09:05:35


Special Correspondent,

Even while the citizens of Nagpur are grappling with hazards they are facing in the wake of citywide cement road works, they are also faced with another problem, the ill-lit squares. The problem becomes all the more acute during night hours when the traffic signals are switched off and the squares are thrown into complete darkness, a sure invitation to accidents. The cement road works have dealt a crippling blow to the traffic signalling system and have thrown streetlighting out of gear throughout the city, making it a nightmarish experience for road users, during night hours and during the wee hours when senior citizens usually go out for their routine morning walk as failing vision makes it difficult for them to identify an oncoming vehicle.

Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) is responsible for proper illumination of roads for smooth and safe flow of traffic. But, a night-ride through the city reveals that more than 100 squares all over the city do not have proper streetlighting. In fact, the situation is so ‘dark’ that NMC authorities appear to have taken the things very ‘lightly’ as far as making Nagpur a ‘Smart City’ is concerned.

Traffic Department of NMC has failed miserably in placing reflector or radium properly on the median for safety of vehicle-riders. Adivasi Gowari Shaheed Flyover that connects Rahate Colony Square to Gowari Smarak T-Point does not have proper illumination at both the ends -- towards Gorakshan Temple and towards Gowari T-Point. During night hours, the high-end cars and sports utility vehicles (SUV) cross this flyover in breakneck speed. As the dividers on both the ends of the flyover do not have proper illumination or reflectors, there is always a possibility of accident in these dark spots. On occasions, vehicles have dashed the dividers. There is risk of cars coming at high speed ramming into the median, which are not visible during night.

‘The Hitavada’ team found that Rahate Colony Square also is one of the dark spots. Nagpur Metro project work is in progress on this busy road. Due to unavailability of proper lighting, there is always danger for vehicular traffic. Ajni Square area near Mount Carmel School does not have proper illumination at night. Thankfully, NMC has installed some reflectors on road leading towards Ajni Railway Station. However, one cannot say that the reflectors have removed the risk posed by dark spots. Still, given the ‘dark’ situation, one feels that such reflectors should be placed at other squares also to provide hint of proper direction to vehicle-riders.

Ashok Square on Ghat Road is an important junction and it is also in the grip of darkness at night. Maharaja Agrasen Square at Gandhibag on Central Avenue, RBI Square or Samvidhan Square at Kamptee Road, Bole Petrol Pump Square, Shankar Nagar Square also have become spots that make driving a nightmarish experience for vehicle-riders as well as people crossing the road or taking a morning walk in the wee hours. The ambient light condition has a significant impact on vehicles and pedestrians.

Sanjay Jaiswal, Executive Engineer of Electricity Department of NMC, agreed that due to ongoing work of Nagpur Metro Rail project and cement roads illumination is not proper on the roads. The civic body is working on replacement of old street lights with new LED lights to keep roads and squares well-lit at night. Presently, he said, “We have 26,000 LED lights. So far, we have replaced 23,000 lights with LED ones. The fitting of remaining lights is in progress. Nagpur has total 1.37 lakh street-lights,” he added.

Even if one considers that the NMC has got very good intentions, one cannot overlook the hazards posed currently by dark spots. When the city fathers talk of the dream of Nagpur becoming a ‘Smart City’, people also expect smart work from authorities. However, turning the important traffic junctions and squares into dark spots is definitely not a smart work.