CHENNAI: The poorly lit Maha Kavi Bharathi Nagar, popularly known as MKB Nagar, whose streets are still dotted only by the outdated sodium lights, offer a harrowing experience for residents. With some of street lamps dysfunctional, a few streets in the vast residential area bordered by Kodungaiyur and Vyasarpadi remain completely dark making it unsafe even for men.
The MKB Nagar police station is centrally located on Central Avenue Road. But that does not deter unscrupulous men from taking advantage of the poorly lit streets and targeting commuters.
“It was a Sunday evening, around 8.30 pm when I was walking on the First Main Road. When I had reached the end of the street and was about to enter Central Avenue Road, a guy on a bicycle came close to me and made an attempt to snatch the purse from my hand. As I screamed out of fear, the guy panicked and sped away from the spot. Though the place was close to the Police Station, I could not do anything. Since it was a Sunday, the road was deserted and no one were there to help. On that day, all the three lights on the stretch were not burning and it was completely dark,” says K Sheela, who lives on 8th Cross Street.
The residents point out that most of the cross streets and the main roads including First Main Road, Second Main Road and Third Main Road are very poorly lit.
The lights on Fourth Cross Street are often dysfunctional making the streets completely dark in the evenings and night.
Maha, a fruit vendor, who put up her stall on Second Main Road, where several other roadside vendors regularly put up shops selling vegetables and other groceries says, “The lights are very dim when I close my shop and walk back home. Thankfully there is movement of people on the streets, else I will not dare to walk here.”
The local police too agree on the need for improving the lighting to deter criminals. An official at the MKB Nagar police station said, “We do inform the area councillor and other officials about the poor or dysfunctional street lights now and then. Earlier, more chain snatching cases were being reported. But now it has reduced because of the patrolling. However the street lights have to be replaced, so that women can walk on these streets without fear,” he said.
When queried about this, L Ganesh, Assistant Engineer (Electrical) Zone 4) of the Chennai Corporation agreed with the concerns caused by the outdated street lights.
“Yes, I agree the lights are dim and they hardly serve their purpose. It is time to replace them with LED lights. In another three months, all the street lights in MKB Nagar will be replaced with LED lights. We got approval for 1,300 LED fittings and work on Sathya Moorthy Nagar, Vyasarpadi is completed. We will soon start the work in the MKB Nagar and finish the work in three months,” he added.