From drain cov­ers to taps, petty thieves want it all

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - Prawesh Lama [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com CON­TIN­UED ON P 8

NEWDELHI: Last Oc­to­ber, a newly built wa­ter foun­tain near the Ambed­kar Bhawan in Jhan­de­walan was all set to be in­au­gu­rated. There was a func­tion planned, guests were on their way. But, hours be­fore the func­tion, of­fi­cials re­alised the foun­tain wasn’t work­ing — some­one had stolen all 40 wa­ter noz­zles.

From sig­nage to iron rail­ings, drain cov­ers to tele­phone ca­bles and taps in pub­lic re­strooms — Delhi’s thieves of­ten make away with the most com­mon items around us that dis­rupt life, cause chaos, and lead to em­bar­rass­ment for au­thor­i­ties in the na­tional cap­i­tal.

Ac­cord­ing to the civic agency records, of the 6,000 sign­boards in the NDMC area, at least 100 were stolen last year. “The sign­boards are made of stain­less steel — they will hardly fetch about ₹50 or ₹100 in the mar­ket, but they are stolen any­way. On the other hand, imag­ine the prob­lem a per­son has to face if there are no sign­boards at the round­abouts,” said a New Delhi Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil of­fi­cer ask­ing not to be named.

Road-own­ing agen­cies say that they of­ten do not re­port ev­ery theft to the po­lice be­cause it is a com­mon oc­cur­rence, and the stolen items are not very costly. For 20 years un­til 2018, the fa­ther of the na­tion Ma­hatma Gandhi’s statue at Mother Teresa Cres­cent in New Delhi re­mained with­out spec­ta­cles be­cause they kept get­ting stolen.

GO­ING, GO­ING, GONE

RAJ K RAJ/ HT FILE

Ma­hatma Gandhi’s statue in Chanakya­puri was with­out spec­ta­cles for over 18 years after they were stolen

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