Cable thefts rampant in Sirmour area of Himachal

Telephone system in most of the part of Trans-Giri area of Sirmaur district has almost collapsed. In most parts of the area, telephones are dead due to alleged carelessness of departmental officials, while cable thieves have increased the woes of residents.

Around twenty four cable-theft incidents had been reported in the district last year. In most cases, the theft incidents had gone unsolved.

People alleged that the BSNL was not paying any heed to restart services in the areas where cable thefts had taken place. Telephone connections were dead in more than eighteen villages of three gram panchayats which include Shamra, Bhutli Manal and Chokar of the Renuka area. The area falls under Pidia Dhar telephone exchange. People of these villages individually and through the resolutions passed by their respective panchayats had sent several representations to the officials of the BSNL, including GM Solan, in the past three months. Hundreds of telephones have been dead since January 8.

Trans-Giri area comprises more than 110 gram panchyats, and telephones are the life lines of the people here.

Residents further charged that most of telephone exchanges in the area were handled by employees of the BSNL, who had little technical knowledge and were always dependent on technical persons from the sub divisional office to remove snag in the exchange.

BSNL sources on the condition of unanimity said the department was running short of staff. One person was handling more than one telephone exchange in many areas especially in Trans-Giri track. The sources said number of theft cases of telephone cables was high. To top it all, in most cases the police did not register FIR on the information given by the BSNL.

The residents said for the past three months they were depositing their telephone bills raised by the department against their dead telephones. Those who refused to deposit the bills were facing disconnection orders.

Solan BSNL general manager said he would take a report from the DET Paonta in this regard and look in to the matter. He admitted that cable thieves had played havoc with the telephone system in the area.

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