In order to prevent drug addicts and petty thieves from stealing copper wires used in signalling system, which often throws railway services out of gear, the Western Railway (WR) authorities are now experimenting with aluminium wires, and cement covers for signal boxes installed along the railway tracks.
Officials said copper is used because it is an excellent conductor of electricity, but the moment miscreants steal copper wires, the signal turns red and becomes non-functional. This affects train services.
“Commuters suffer for no fault of theirs. We have been arresting culprits who steal copper wires, and most them turn out to be habitual offenders,” said an RPF official.
Sources in the WR claimed that since copper wires fetch drug addicts a good sum in the open market, wire thefts have become a daily affair.
“We are now looking at replacing copper with aluminium, which too is a good conductor of electricity and is cheaper. Its resale value is also as good as nil,” a WR official said. Rajendra Rupanwar, senior divisional security commissioner of RPF (Mumbai) said, “We have detected several cases and are in process of arresting the culprits.”
Officials said most of the miscreants stealing wires cut the cables connecting two tracks that are placed inside silver-coloured signal boxes, which have the main connection for the nearby signals.
Presently, at several locations, the wires are lying exposed without any casing or covering. Some of the locations where the exposed wires can be seen are stretches between Goregaon and Malad, and Mira Road and Bhayandar. The officials have taken note of these spots and have already commenced the work of covering the cables in aluminium or cement boxes. “This is being done on an experimental basis. We will verify its success before working at other locations,” WR spokesperson Nitin David said.
Did you know?
120: Number of theft cases registered by the RPF between January and September 2013
69: Number of cases cracked
51: Number of cases that are yet to be solved
Rs 1.67 lakh: Total amount collected as fines from offenders