Srirangapatna: While thousands of commuters are opting for the 10-lane Mysuru-Bengaluru Access-Controlled Expressway (NH-275) daily for a smooth and hassle-free journey, the high-tech road has also become a favourite destination for wily thieves to steal metal objects, stainless steel barricades and metal water pipes.
Just a couple of days back, the Officers of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told Star of Mysore that they were baffled by the scale of thefts on the Expressway.
“The steel barriers are made of high-grade steel and the thieves are blatantly cutting off parts to sell them in scrap yards. Now we have found that thieves are targeting electric poles and are removing the strengthening bars between the aesthetically designed poles. While steel barricades have been removed at many places in Bidadi and Ramanagara, the electric poles are being targeted on the Srirangapatna stretch,” an Officer said.
These iron and steel thieves are making use of the darkness and are taking away valuable metal. “Unfortunately, they fail to realise the efforts and money that have gone into the building of the Expressway. For a few extra rupees, they are discrediting the best quality of works undertaken,” the NHAI Officer added.
Shockingly, as the horizontal support railings on the bottom half of the vertical poles have been removed, the poles are becoming infirm and are swaying
when the wind blows. Over time, they will become weak and there is a danger of them crashing down on commuters who are travelling on the road and the service roads.
The supporting sidebars of the electric poles have been removed at many places on the service roads on either side of the Expressway. Bereft of the sidebars, the poles are standing like skeletons, inviting danger. The poles have been laid at a height of 25 ft. and the horizontal supporting bars have been removed up to a height of 12 ft. (see pic. above). “The poles are sturdy and are made of an alloy-like metal but they have been fixed with easily removable nuts and bolts and have not been riveted. Taking advantage of this, the thieves have used simple spanners and hammers to remove the screws and steal the metal bars,” said a local resident.
The vehicle movement on the NH-275 Expressway and its service roads is high even before the road is inaugurated. “The NHAI can install CCTV cameras all along the road to catch the thieves or they can at least request the jurisdictional Police to increase night patrolling. Steps must be taken to strengthen the poles before they crash on commuters as it happened recently in Bengaluru when the iron structure of an under-construction Metro pillar fell killing two people instantly,” said Javaregowda, a concerned farmer.
Highway patrolling to prevent thefts
“It is an unfortunate development. We carry out development works for public benefit and there are some anti-social elements who destroy public property without realising safety is endangered. We will introduce highway patrolling and already, we have sent a proposal to the Centre to implement an Intelligent Highway Information and Traffic Management System (IHI-TMS) on this Expressway to control accidents and theft of metal barricades and other items. The proposal is in the approval stage and once implemented, we will have CCTV cameras and sensors every 500 metres. This will detect thieves and will be a deterrent.” —Pratap Simha, Mysuru-Kodagu MP
By Vinay Karekura