BENGALURU: A study by Janaagraha reveals that 37 per cent of the city streets have no lights, while 51 per cent are unsafe for pedestrians.
Conducted across 3,075 km in and around Bengaluru’s footpaths, the study also found that the average brightness of the streetlights is a mere 8 lux.
Chandrima Padmanabhan, Associate, Open Works, Janaagraha Centre for Citizenship and Democracy, says, “The Action Plan for Women’s Safety by the BDA has set 10 lux as the benchmark for streetlight brightness. Our study showed that 49 per cent of the streetlights measure between 10 and 20 lux — safe but not ideal.”
Payel Dutta, a transaction processing associate, feels proper streetlights don’t make any difference when it comes to women feeling safe. “It is not just about Bengaluru but any place in India. I was walking on MG Road one evening. A man came from the opposite side, bumped into me intentionally and walked away as if nothing had happened.”
Neethu George echoes the sentiment. “Even if a street is well-lit, I feel unsafe due to the news reports I’ve read of women being harassed and raped. There is fear always.”
The streetlights are also not placed properly. “Electronics City, for instance, is deserted with many huge buildings. Right where you get down from the bus at Crowne Plaza, there are no lights. It gets pretty scary,” she adds.
The city is not as safe as it used to be, says Sonali Singh, who has been living in the city for almost a decade. “Things are changing now. You hear about so many rapes these days.”
Unlike the other women, Meghana Ravikumar, a BA student, feels that the city is safe when compared to other places like Delhi. “I can go out even at 11 pm. Unlike Delhi, where you need to think twice before going out, you can feel safer here. With all the safety apps available on smartphones, it is easier for women to walk around,” she says.
It is not always about about crimes. Improper lighting can lead to accidents as well. Atree Kundu, an entrepreneur, says as most of the major streets and roads lack lamps, she nearly had an accident once. She narrates, “The other day, a vehicle came from the opposite direction with high beams on. My autodriver was blinded temporarily and bumped into a divider.”
BBMP officials were unavailable for comment as they were busy with their monthly meeting.