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THE streetlights on Peshawar Mor interchange remain unoperational. — White Star
THE streetlights on Peshawar Mor interchange remain unoperational. — White Star

ISLAMABAD: Streetlights on two of the capital’s main roads have either been switched off or developed faults, causing problems for motorists and residents for several months and leaving parts of the city in the dark.

Most of the streetlights on Jinnah Avenue and from Zero Point to Tarnol on Kashmir Highway are not functional, and other than on one loop, most of the lights on the multi-billion rupee Peshawar Mor Interchange are not functioning either.

Jinnah Avenue, one of the city’s main roads, does not have many functional streetlights on either side of the road, but the lights along the metro track are operational.

The streetlights between Zero Point and Tarnol on Kashmir Highway are not functional either, while the Peshwar Mor Interchange – which cost around Rs5 billion – also goes dark at nights because the lights on its loops are off.

The deputy director of Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) streetlights division, Raheel Junajo, said the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA), which constructed the Peshawar Mor Interchange and metro track, was responsible for ensuring the lights on the interchange, Kashmir Highway and Jinnah Avenue are functional.

“We recently deposited the Peshawar Mor electricity bill, but the lights did not become functional despite this because of the RDA’s negligence,” he said, adding that the CDA has written to the RDA several times in this regard, to no avail.

Mr Junajo also claimed that there was no serious issue regarding the lack of lighting on Jinnah Avenue.

When asked what the RDA’s role is in Kashmir Highway and Jinnah Avenue, which were both developed by the CDA and fall within its administrative control, Mr Junajo said since the RDA built the metro track, it had damaged the CDA’s light networking and was now responsible for making CDA’s lights functional.

RDA spokesperson Hafiz Irfan, however, said that the CDA could not absolve itself of its responsibility to make lights in Islamabad functional by blaming the CDA.

“As part of the metro bus track we constructed the Peshawar Mor Interchange, which we later handed over to the CDA. Now it is their responsibility to maintain this facility. One can lamentthe CDA’s strange logic,” he said.

Locals have also expressed concern regarding the darkness on the city’s roads.

Hafiz Khan, a motorist, said the darkness creates problems for drivers.

“The government spent billions of rupees on this interchange, but unfortunately none of lights on its loops are functional; this interchange should be named dark interchange,” he remarked.

F-6 resident Nasir Ali said Jinnah Avenue is one of the most important roads in the capital, but “unfortunately, because of the CDA’s ignorance, the lights on both sides of the road are dysfunctional”.

But Mr Junajo from the CDA said the operation and maintenance of the streetlights on Jinnah Avenue was the RDA’s responsibility until they are officially handed over to the CDA, fully operational. “So far, we were not handed over these lights officially by the RDA,” he said.

Published in Dawn, January 15th, 2018