Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - METRO -

“An iron tap is an­other com­mon item stolen by such thieves. They are fit­ted in pub­lic toi­lets and bath­rooms run by the civic agen­cies. Imag­ine the prob­lem when taps are stolen from pub­lic wash­rooms — how can one ex­pect the wash­rooms to re­main clean?,” said a civic agency of­fi­cer on con­di­tion of anonymity.

A se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer said tap thefts are also com­mon in bun­ga­lows in the New Delhi area. One such case, for in­stance, hap­pened on Jan­uary 24 at a house in Zakir Hus­sain Marg near In­dia Gate, of­fi­cials said.

“We have ar­rested vagabonds for steal­ing taps from the bun­ga­lows of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans. They sell it for less than hun­dred bucks and buy smack (heroin),” the of­fi­cer said.

This De­cem­ber, the Delhi traf­fic po­lice reg­u­larly re­ceived re­ports of traf­fic con­ges­tion at Okhla. There were cases of twowheeler riders fall­ing off their mo­tor­cy­cles and scoot­ers at the un­der­pass con­nect­ing Sarita Vi­har and Okhla. When the po­lice in­spected the site, they re­alised that the iron bars that cov­ered a drain pass­ing un­der the road were miss­ing. Drivers abruptly stopped their ve­hi­cles at the un­cov­ered drain, lead­ing to car pile-ups, ac­ci­dents, and traf­fic chaos dur­ing the morn­ing and evening rush hours. In 2018 alone, iron bars were stolen seven times. Tired of the thefts, Delhi De­vel­op­ment Author­ity of­fi­cials have cov­ered the drain with stone blocks.

Ca­bles and wires, es­pe­cially ones used by the Delhi Metro Rail Cor­po­ra­tion, are also a pre­ferred item, ac­cord­ing to the po­lice. Last year, the Ma­genta Line be­tween Botan­i­cal Gar­den and Kalkaji Mandir sec­tion de­vel­oped tech­ni­cal snags be­cause the ca­bles were stolen at least 20 times.

The to­tal cost of the stolen ca­bles was over ₹2 crore.

“The ca­bles are of very high qual­ity and made of cop­per. There is a thriv­ing sec­ond-hand mar­ket. We have ar­rested pro­fes­sional thieves be­hind the theft of such ca­bles. It is bet­ter than the tele­phone line ca­bles and sells for about ₹100 per kilo­gram,” a po­lice of­fi­cer said, adding that tele­phone ca­ble theft too was very com­mon un­til four years ago.

“In 2015, the tele­phone lines of many em­bassies and in­tel­li­gence bureau of­fices in New Delhi were down be­cause the tele­phone ca­bles were stolen,” he said.

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