Around 7,000 BSNL landline telephones in Kalyan and Ulhasnagar went dead as underground cables were slashed and stolen by unknown persons on Wednesday night.
Ashok Manani, sub divisional engineer at BSNL’s Ulhasnagar office said, “This theft badly affected [the functioning of] the Ulhasnagar Court, Ulhasnagar Municipal Corporation, schools, colleges and the businesses of hotels, private business firms and eight nationalised banks. Our employees are working round the clock since the cable theft was detected. It will take two more days to bring the service to work normally.”
Manani said that the possibility of rival companies having a hand in the theft was not ruled out. He added that a complaint has now been lodged at the Ulhasnagar and Kalyan police stations.
In Kalyan, around 3,000 landline telephones and broadband connections were out of order. Like Manani, BG Meshram, sub divisional engineer at BSNL’s Kalyan office, did not rule out the possibility of competitors having a role to play in the theft.
"After inspecting the spot of theft, it was found to be the work of persons having technical knowledge. The total cost of the cable was not more than Rs10,000 to Rs15,000,” he said.
Ramesh Rajani, a shopkeeper from Gol Maidan, Ulhasnagar, claims to have seen the thieves.
He said: “I thought they [the thieves] were BSNL workers carrying out some routine work. They came around 8pm and worked till 10pm. If the police bring the accused in front of me, I can identify them, because they had asked for water at my shop.”