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Lost and not found? Try the Net

business Updated: Jul 14, 2007 01:58 IST
Nandini R Iyer
Nandini R Iyer
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Have you ever left behind a bag containing your certificates in an auto-rickshaw and then spent weeks praying someone would be decent enough to track you down and return them? Or have you spent days trying to reconstruct your address book because you lost the diary where you stored telephone numbers and address details?

The next time you’re in this kind of a fix, log onto http://www.theftrecorder.com.

Sitting in his Rajouri Garden office, Manjeet Singh, proprietor of a B2B portal, spent weeks agonising over a stolen car two years back. The problem: it was a friend’s car he was using.

“I ran from pillar to post even to get a case registered,” he says.

The car was never found, but the incident set Singh thinking. Whenever he told his story to anyone, the person had a similar account to narrate. “People had lost certificates, jewellery, pets or items of personal value like family photographs and book out of print,” he recalls.

All of which made him realise there was no single window entity for people to report lost or found things, especially those that are low on commercial value.

Thus was born the idea of a website where people from all over the world could report things they had lost. The research started last November, on what kind of things people lose and the parameters needed to report the loss. This April, the site began beta-testing and, on July 1, it was informally launched.

Over the past 12 days, nine complaints have already been registered by people who have stumbled upon Singh’s website.

Bhupinder Malviya, for example, reported the loss of a watch in Delhi, while Satish Kumar has put up details of his lost credit card in Uttar Pradesh. Anurag Vaidya of Mumbai has reported the loss of a cell phone. They haven’t got back their stuff yet, but Singh is sure things will soon be different.

The site offers separate categories to report theft and losses of vehicles, IT products, banking tools (credit cards, chequebooks, etc), valuables (jewellery, etc), missing persons, pets, documents and certificates, and household goods.

Meanwhile, as news spreads, Singh’s site is slowly becoming popular. Says Pragyashree Ganeshan, a call-centre employee: “A friend told me about it. Last week, I lost a photo album containing every single photograph of my family. My parents are no more and this was my last link to them. I hope someone finds it and returns it to me.”

Lost and Found matters currently come under the domain of the police. Says Delhi Police PRO, Rajan Bhagat: “If anybody reports anything as found or lost, a daily diary entry is made in the register of the police station where it is reported. Subsequently the information is passed on to all police stations and the information is published in the Delhi Police gazette. In case of vehicles, missing people and cell phones, this information is also uploaded onto the police’s Zonal Integrated Police Network sites.”

While Bhagat maintains Delhi Police does take care of “matching identifiable properties” and ensuring found property is restored to its rightful owner, he welcomes Manjeet Singh’s site: “If anyone is doing this kind of social service, it is a good thing. Our advice to him would be that he should pass on all information to us so that we can also work on these cases.”