Delhi has a large number of terrace housing colonies, most of which are located in gullies or little laneways. My main concern – is someone going to grab me before I reach my house? I often call, or even pretend to be on the phone in order to create a distraction for myself. But the main question remains, WHY do I have to walk on dark streets? Why do I constantly feel UNSAFE and THREATNED? Most people in Delhi will share my concern, and have been asking similar questions, but few have been given answers.
Have you ever wondered how can solar energy affect women's and children's safety in a city like Delhi? The city suffers from shortage of street lights in many areas. Absence of street lighting is a breeding ground for predators, who attack women and children. What Delhi needs is a better network of well-lit streets and suburbs. If someone steps out of the house at 8 pm, and finds a dingy dark corner, the likelihood of assault, which is not limited to sexual assaults, certainly forms a primary chunk of the crime statistic.
Solar street lamps give life to these dark corners in your neighborhood. The lights will not only instill confidence in people to reclaim the streets, but also support a network which cannot function in darkness. For example, street vendors do not venture in areas where there is no potential for business. If the tiniest corner of a suburb is illuminated, licensed street vendors will be encouraged to create a better community.
Delhi power cuts are being reported constantly, and we need to re-focus on what Thomas Eddison's invention of electricity really means to us? It may seem distant to link clean, renewable, abundant source of energy like solar to women's safety, but in reality it is simple, direct and practical.
The Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit needs to think hard on measures to put women and children's safety in priority. Considering they are already struggling with long hours of power outages, an alternative needs to be found to light up the blacked out streets and lanes at night. I cannot help pointing out the obvious solution – the SUN's energy.
To endorse and demand for solar power in Delhi: Sign the petition here.
Ruhie Kumar is a Digital Media Campaigner with Greenpeace India.