Many places have gaping holes where the entire chain-link sheets have been cut and taken away
Srirangapatna: After the theft of stainless-steel angles (metal bars) fixed on electric poles on Mysuru-Bengaluru Expressway, a new theft has come to light where the chain-link fencing on both sides of the Highway is being cut and taken away.
Miscreants are cutting the fence and stealing the entire specially fabricated stainless-steel fencing sheets, leaving a gaping hole. At many places, the fencing has been vandalised and bent to facilitate easy movement of people and livestock. As a result, cattle are found squatting on the road at many places. Chain-link fencing, made of high-grade steel, has been installed on both sides of the Expressway for safety purposes and to address the issue of jay-walking.
Ever since the Expressway was constructed and inaugurated, there have been multiple cases of thefts where LED bulbs, pipes and metal angles of electric poles have been stolen. Now the theft of roadside fencing has brought a new headache for the authorities of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Project contractor Dilip Buildcon has registered multiple cases in the jurisdictional Police stations.
Cases have been reported in Ramanagara, Channapatna, Maddur and Mandya Police Station limits and according to the Police and NHAI, thieves are using metal cutters to snap the chain-link fencing. Initially, the NHAI thought that the chain-link fencing might have been cut by the people who wanted to cross the road at places. But later, the theft angle came to light when the entire chain-link fencing sheets up to 5 to 10 ft. were missing.
Officials said that they were surprised at the theft and though the Police have been informed, nothing has been done till now. “Part of the chain-link fencing at multiple locations have gone missing. It appears to be the handiwork of anti-social elements and thieves who are selling the metal to scrap dealers,” an NHAI Officer said.
Police said that the gaping holes would endanger pedestrians, especially jay-walkers. “There is a general tendency to jay-walk. The hole in the fencing would tempt people to cross the road. This could lead to an accident because of the heavy and speedy vehicular movement,” a Traffic Policeman said.
Refrain from stealing or damaging fences: MP
Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha said that thieves are stealing the fencing material at night, particularly in areas like Ramanagara-Channapatna bypass, Bidadi and Mandya bypass and are later sold at scrap yards. Efforts are underway to address this issue by installing CCTV cameras in these locations.
Speaking to reporters in Mysuru yesterday, MP Pratap Simha has urged the public to refrain from stealing or damaging the chain-link fencing, as well as the related structures like anglers and bracings. “The Expressway has been built for public convenience and it is a public property and it is your responsibility to join hands with the Government to maintain South India’s world-class road,” he said.
He said that the Expressway is access-controlled and vehicles move at high speeds, making it unsafe to remove the fences and cross the roads. “To enhance security there are plans to seek Rs. 80 crore from the State Government to install CCTV cameras along the Expressway,” he said.
“It is important for the public to recognise that these fences are their own property and should not be stolen. Ensuring the safety of individuals using the Expressway remains a priority until the installation of the CCTV cameras is completed,” he added.