SRINAGAR: In times of curtailed communication in the valley, cable thefts are adding to blackouts with thieves decamping with underground and overhead cables, mostly of the state owned telecom company BSNL.
This year alone four thefts have been reported in uptown Srinagar with thieves mostly targeting cables near the bridges.
Ali Muhammad, a senior BSNL employee, who looks after the cabling at BSNL told Kashmir Reader that over the years telecommunications cables thefts have become a massive problem for the department with hundreds of meters of these cables reported missing during the past few years.
He said these thefts result in snapping of landline phones, internet services and even hitting lease lines of various financial institutes.
The lure for the thieves, according to Ali, is the copper metal that is sold as scrap after burning of the plastic shielding.
Even though, Ali says, jelly filled cables that have replaced the paper-wound cables since 1995, are very thin in diameter, thieves manage to extract copper from it.
Subash Razdan, another official at BSNL, most of the thefts have occurred near the bridges with thieves cutting off sections of 400 pair, 200 or 100 pair cables.
Recently, a cable spanning the Gaw Kadal bridge was stolen from the under the bridge. A similar theft occurred at MA Bridge twice, while a large portion of the cable was also stolen near the Emporium Building along the Residency road.
Complaints with the police, Ali said, haven’t helped curb the problem. They often end up harassing the staff instead, he said.
As thefts pile up fault complaints, field staffers say repairs take up many days as rejoining the cables was a tedious process.
Bashir Ahmad, a field staffer, said that apart from the thefts, snapping of cables during development works or road digging was the other major problem they face.