Dwarka: The case of the disappearing manhole covers...


Dwarka: The case of the disappearing manhole covers...

Across Dwarka, there are manholes that don't have covers. What's happening to them?

Dwarka: The case of the disappearing manhole covers...

Across Dwarka, there are manholes that don't have covers. 

Open manholes are a threat to pedestrians and vehicles alike, especially at night, when these death traps are not visible. During monsoons, when the streets are inundated, the problem becomes even more serious.

Residents who live in areas from where most manhole covers have disappeared, said it happened every few days and the authorities have been unable to replace them. They claimed the covers were being stolen by a group of drug addicts, who extracted iron bars from them and sold them to local scrap dealers for easy money. 

"It is really unfortunate that a planned city such as Dwarka has footpaths that are not safe for pedestrians," said AK Parashar, a resident of Sri Agrasen Apartments, Sector 7. "The civic bodies need to ensure that all manholes are kept covered at all times. Once they come across an open manhole, they should ensure that it is covered immediately. As a preventive measure, and to avoid the hassle, they should come up with a solution to avoid theft of manhole covers in the first place."

President of Federation of RWAs of Sector 9 (FORWAS) and president of Ganpati Apartments, Sector 9, Advocate KS Bhati, said missing manhole covers had become a common sight across Dwarka.

"One thing I would like to highlight is that these manholes are left uncovered until an RWA follows up with the municipal corporation or DDA," said Bhati. "They should be the ones taking the initiative for pedestrian safety. This is yet another example of their apathy. The civic bodies should put together a team comprising people from the RWAs and the police to keep an eye out for the thieves. The drug addicts responsible for the missing covers should be sent to rehab."

Rekha Jhingan, a resident of Peepal Apartments, Sector 17E, has been in the field of drug rehabilitation for more than three decades now.

"I have taken a close look at the problem and have come to the conclusion that it is drug addicts between the ages of 16 and 30 from a lower-middle-class background that are involved in these thefts," said Jhingan. "Public property such as manhole covers are easy targets for them. They strip the cover to extract the reinforcement bars in them, which fetch them a good price in any local scrapyard. The authorities are well aware of the problem but they do not do anything about it. If the scrap dealers stopped buying from drug addicts, they may stop stealing the covers. We must unite and stop such thefts from occurring again."