Srinagar, Jan 22: In a story of self-reliance met with official apathy, residents of Daga Kadal’s Siddique Colony in Lal Bazar locality are seeing their home-grown illumination efforts dimmed by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC).
Having waited for years for the authorities to light up their streets, the community pooled resources and installed LED streetlights themselves.
But their newfound brightness has been short-lived, thanks to the recent installation of smart meters in the area.
Now, these very streetlights stand as silent sentinels to a power struggle between residents and the Srinagar Municipal Corporation.
“The SMC gave us a handful of malfunctioning streetlights and then washed their hands off,” Syed Zubair Ahmad Shah, a resident, told Greater Kashmir. “Instead of appreciating our initiative, they are stopping power to our lights, saying they weren’t installed by them.”
The residents’ frustration is palpable. Years of living in the shadows, navigating unlit paths after dusk had finally given way to a sense of security and well-being.
Now, that flickering hope has been doused by what they see as official apathy.
“We are not asking for much,” says another resident, Fatima Begum. “Just let us have our lights. Our children shouldn’t have to fear the dark, and we shouldn’t have to worry about accidents on unlit streets.”
The residents’ appeal to the authorities is a plea for common sense and cooperation. People, particularly the old aged, aren’t able to offer evening prayers due to darkness.
Children too aren’t able to move around in the evenings due to darkness and fear of being attacked by stray dogs in the dark.
They urge the SMC to recognise their efforts and find a solution that allows their self-installed lights to function.
Whether it’s providing technical assistance, integrating their system with smart meters, or simply acknowledging their community spirit, the residents seek a way out of the darkness.
Siddique Colony’s story is a microcosm of larger issues plaguing many communities. It’s a tale of citizen initiative met with bureaucratic hurdles, of self-reliance pitted against red tape.
As the residents await a response from the authorities, their plea hangs in the air, a flicker of hope battling the encroaching shadows. “Will the authorities acknowledge the community’s efforts and illuminate their path, or will Siddique Colony remain shrouded in darkness, a testament to the pitfalls of bureaucracy? Only time will tell,” said a resident.