Thieves render phones phoney

Bhaktapur, July 8:

Locals of Tathali VDC in Bhaktapur district have been deprived of phone service yet again after thieves stole telephone cable there for the 20th time.

"Theft of telephone cable in the remote areas of the district is common, but thefts are taking place repeatedly in the same area," chief of the Nepal Telecom, Bhaktapur branch office, Laxmi Prajapati, said.

It is unknown whether the cables were stolen for individual use or for selling purposes, he said.

"More than 20 per cent of the imported cables are stolen in the country."

NT official Deepak Sapkota said Tathali villagers prevented the NT from reinstalling the cables again, saying such work would damage their food crops.

According to Prajapati, the NT office recently rented a room in the village to set up an ONU, a telephone exchange machine that can generate around 500 new telephone lines. The NT has halted the work of installing telephone lines in around four km area meant for some 312 households after the old cables were stolen.

Prajapati said installing 1 m cable costs NT Rs 700. Due to the unavailability of the telephone lines in the area where the cables were stolen, the NT has been incurring losses, he said, adding that the NT has had to bear a loss of around Rs 200,000 per month.

Police administration, according to NT officials, is partly to blame for turning deaf ear to the complaints of cable theft.

They claim that although the telecom authority officers reported the cases of thefts to the security personnel and also helped in arresting the cable thieves, police often remain indifferent towards the problem.

However, security personnel said they were trying their best.

The NT has installed sirens in four places in Bhaktapur — Tathali, Changu, Gundu and Dubakot —where some 30 m of

cables were stolen yesterday night alone.