Street lights, a basic for most big cities and towns, are still a luxury in Tura. Residents of the town are well aware of the fact that they are facing inconvenience due to lack of street lights after sunset. The entire Tura town has been put into darkness at night making it vulnerable and dangerous as street lamps are either defunct or vandalised.
No need to mention that it becomes almost impossible to find paths in the dark without good street lighting. The dark streets have become the perfect place for drug addicts and alcoholics who use the cover of darkness to their advantage. People who work in night shifts, students who finish university late at night etc, are all at risk of crime and violence.
Women living in Tura, who have late-night jobs or return from their jobs and female students returning from tuition after sunset feel scared to walk after sunset because of the darkness.
It is true that crime can occur at any time and some crimes occur in the daytime. However, a lot more of sexual violence does occur in the night and so women feel unsafe after dark. Night time also sees less women out on the streets and very rarely alone. Although some measures are being taken to ensure safety in the town, it is natural for people to feel uncomfortable when lighting is inadequate.
Tura is the second largest town in Meghalaya and the capital town of Garo Hills. The local inhabitants have been lodging complaints with the government and local authorities for the repair and replacement of non-functional street lamps. However, no action whatsoever has been taken on this matter so far.
Recent news reports reveal that although Tura is part of the constituency of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma (South Tura) and senior National People’s Party (NPP) leader and former Rajya Sabha MP, Thomas A. Sangma (North Tura) and also the hometown of local MP Agatha Sangma, they cannot be totally blamed because it is now close to a decade since street lights really shone through Tura town.
The town has been reeling in darkness because the power bills have not been paid. The matter of the missing street lamps had been raised with the district administration, which had promised that the matter was being looked into earnestly. However, with rising power bills that are yet to be paid, the situation is such that all such street lighting in Tura faces the danger of being completely switched off.
As per newspaper reports, earlier 275 solar street lights had been set up to light up the streets of Tura. However, almost all the solar lights that had been installed in a special drive by the previous government were literally smashed wherever they had been installed. So, you can thus add vandalism to the mix. Who should then be held responsible for this entire problem?
Here the question arises. Who is supposed to pay the pending power bills? Is it the government? Is it the people who elected the representatives? Is it the concerned department? Is it the district administration? Is it the general public? Who? ……..Who should take the responsibility? Has anyone ever thought about the benefits of having street lights on the roadsides? Here are some benefits of having streetlights.
1. Safety is the essential benefit of lighting. There is ample data that says well-lit places make women feel safer.
2. By lighting streets, parks, and other public places, the risk of crime, accidents and injuries reduces.
3. Well-lit public spaces also give pedestrians a much-needed sense of security when walking on the streets after sunset, especially women.
4. Good street light deters criminals thus boosts pedestrian confidence.
5. Street lighting is very essential for safe driving at night because good lighting improves visibility and minimises the risk of road accidents.
6. Bright lighting not only brings charm to the night view but also adds beauty in night time markets.
7. Good lighting helps prevent running over wildlife such as wildcat, deer or other smaller animals that often cross the roadway and get in the way unexpectedly.
Street lights will make a huge difference in lowering the crime rate against women and children. Definitely, I don’t think that’s the only thing that needs to be done, but certainly it is a good start. Hence, whether on the heavily travelled routes or in residential areas, it is very important to have good quality street lighting not only to brighten our surroundings but also for the safety and security of residents.
Since the people of Tura have chosen our representatives to fulfill our hopes n aspirations and to acknowledge our grievances and resolve the same. We have no choice except to seek your immediate attention and help in this matter on an urgent basis. The representatives should instruct the appropriate authority to take immediate action on the repairs and replacement of the damaged streetlights in the entire Tura town to ensure safety and security to the region.