Residents in Ammanallur village, near Arani, in Tiruvannamalai have tied wooden torches to poles of defunct street lights to highlight their plight due to lack of proper lighting in the village.
Residents said more than six months ago, officials of the Ammanallur village panchayat erected lamp poles on more than 20 streets in the village, which includes areas like Kamaraj Nagar and A.S.R. Nagar. Power supply was also given to these LED street lights by local Tangedco officials.
However after a week, the lights stopped working. This has resulted in complete darkness in the village and jeopardising the safety of those stepping out at night. “We have been complaining to the panchayat officials and councillors but the street lights have not been repaired,” said B. Kandan, a resident.
A thriving farming village, Ammanallur has around 6,000 residents, who are mostly paddy cultivators and weavers. The village has government schools, a sub-health centre, fair price shop and a few bus services to reach Arani town. Most of the houses are thatched.
Residents said as most of the land in the village is under cultivation, snakes and other wild animals roam the night. Without street lighting, residents are scared to step out of their houses in the dark.
Panchayat officials said the private contractor, who installed the street lights, had refused to repair them as the fault was the result of power fluctuations in the neighbourhood. Lack of funds with the local body is also making it difficult to replace the broken lights.
“We have sought additional funds from the district administration to replace the bulbs,” said K. Venkatesan, president, Ammanallur village panchayat.