ISLAMABAD     -           The residents of the capital are facing problems, as over 17,000 streetlights are out of order at present—turning several parts of the city into darkness soon after sunset.

According to the sources, there are 40,000 streetlights installed across the city by Streetlights Division of the Directorate Of Electrical And Mechanical Maintenance so far on its about 1,600km long network, however, around 17,000 are not working properly.

The aforementioned total number of streetlights includes the lights on major avenues, service roads, streets, markaz, parks and grounds.  

About a decade ago, under former chairman Kamran Lashari, most of the streetlights in the city were functional, but as time went on the lights began developing faults. The majority of these faulty streetlights are in older sectors, such as G-6, G-7, G-8, G-9, I-9 and I-10.

In addition to old sectors, the Kashmir Highway from Peshawar Moor to onward and a road leading to Pir Sohawa and Monal is also lacking streetlights.

Sources told that the lights on Peshawar Mor Interchange are also not working, as the project is not handed over to the Capital Development Authority so far. 

An officer informed on the condition of anonymity that the concerned formation is only trying to fix the problems on major avenues like Islamabad Highway, Margalla Road and posh sectors like F series.  

Officials from the Capital Development Authority and the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad said that at present, the directorate responsible for streetlights is focused solely on lighting on main roads, which are being run using solar power.

The Director Electrical and Mechanical Maintenance Muhammad Mozam while responding on the issue accepted that a large number of streetlights are out of order but said: “I am not in a position to confirm the number of faulty streetlights as we never counted them.”

“We are facing shortage of funds after the devolution of streetlights division to Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad and now besides several requests, the required funds are not being provided by the Capital Development Authority,” he said.

On the other side, a senior officer of the authority suggested to shift the streetlights from conventional to LEDs as they are energy efficient and durable.

He said that the civic authority is paying around a billion rupees annually on account of the dues of electricity.

The Islamabad Electric Supply Company is charging Capital Development Authority lump sum dues on the account of electricity being used to illuminate the streetlights as there are no meters installed to note the readings.

An audit objection was also framed in this regard and pointed out that due to unavailability of metering, the civic body sustained a loss of millions.

A source also told that a previous management was also working to outsource the streetlights to a private firm on a long-term, which has agreed to revamp the whole network in addition to the conversion of all lights on LEDs.

They, however, added that the same proposal was shelved by incumbent management due to unidentified reasons as a Chinese company was interested to take over the streetlights system of the city.