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BSNL’s cables go missing

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BAFFLING: Workers attending to work along a road in K.K. Nagar where cables were stolen recently.
BAFFLING: Workers attending to work along a road in K.K. Nagar where cables were stolen recently.

In a few areas, just after a few days of laying them the cables have vanished, writes

L. Srikrishna

Underground copper cables laid by the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) goes missing at regular intervals, BSNL sources say.

The BSNL officials, having lodged complaints with the police stations concerned, are baffled since there is not much progress in detection and recovery of the missing cables. According to BSNL sources, 475 cases are pending in the last three years, including 109 cases with the police department alone.

The underground cables have been laid in the city and on the outskirts. In a few areas, just after a few days of laying them the cables have vanished. “We come to know of the theft only after our customers complain of problems in the working of their telephone,” an officer said.

Stretches such as Mattuthavani-Othakadai on the Melur highway, Vilangudi-Paravai on Dindigul highway, Koodal Nagar road and the stretch beyond Tirunagar are a few places where such thefts are reported. A few days ago, the culprits had fled with a huge roll of copper cables in the Maatuthavani area, he added.

The cost of a kg of copper is about Rs. 250. Each roll of copper cable laid costs several thousands of rupees, he said. The officer said that during the last quarter of 2009, they had about 480 cases pending for investigation and there was not much progress. Fortunately, there were no major complaints of cable missing during that period as well, What is worrying the telecom major is that a large number of complaints lodged with the police, even three years back, are still pending. There are as many as 350 cases pending at different stages in the courts, the officer said.

A senior police officer said that investigations revealed that there were many factors behind the offences. Most frequent cases of cable thefts are reported near Mattuthavani bus stand. Moreover, rivals in the telecom business have also indulged in the act, an officer had told during an enquiry, police said.

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