Non-functional, non-existent and broken streetlights in Srinagar city belie the claims of the administration of having completed smart streetlighting under the Smart City project.
As per an official document, which lists the projects completed under the Smart City funds and convergence as on November 12, the smart streetlighting project has been completed at a cost of Rs 2.62 crore. However, the position on the ground is contradictory.
A senior official said under the Smart City project, they had installed VJ lights on Abdullah Bridge and Zero Bridge. He said smart streetlights would also be installed on the grade separator near the Tourist Reception Centre.
When told that main streets in the city were blanketed in darkness soon after sunset, he said: “May be, there was no power supply at that time and that could be the reason the streetlights were not functioning.”
Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Choudhary said, “Smart streetlighting has been completed under the Smart City project.”
The Smart City project for Srinagar is aimed at the upgrade and overhaul of the city and making available better amenities for its residents. However, little seems to have changed or improved on the ground in the second year of the project.
Chief Town Planner, Kashmir, Fayaz Ahmad Khan, said smart streetlighting was part of the Smart City project. He said: “We want to ensure that the streetlighting is energy efficient. We will try to tap solar energy so that the load on hydropower decreases. The lights will switch on and turn off automatically as per the solar light intensity.” He said the lights would switch on early in the winter as the sun sets early.
Khan said he could no comment on the completion of smart streetlighting.