Cable operator-politician nexus derailing overhead cable removal

July 18th, 2010 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

By Prathiba Raju
New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Efforts to remove tangled mass of overhead wires in large parts of Delhi ahead of the Commonwealth Games seem to have lost momentum as, according to civic agency officials, the cable operator-politician nexus is trying to derail the initiative.

“Though the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) claims that the removal of overhanging cables is under way, the entangled wires are still lying untouched at many places,” a senior official of the civic agency told IANS, requesting anonymity.

“Civic officials face opposition and threats from cable operators who have immense support from local politicians, including legislators and councillors.”

“This being the scenario and with just a few months to go for the Commonwealth Games, civic officials have little to do in the removal of cables,” he added.

The civic body has given several notices to the authorities concerned, asking them to remove the jumble of overhead cables around the city, the official said. The Games, after all, will be on from Oct 3 to 14.

But the snaking cables that pose a constant fire threat to the residents and commuters are not removed owing to the influence of local politicians and councillors, he added.

As many as 2,200 registered cable operators and residents of unauthorised colonies, which steal electricity through illegal means, would be affected if the overhead wires were removed.

The MCD had directed all cable, broadband and internet network operators to remove the overhanging cables and make alternative arrangements for laying their cables by June 30.

Most of the operators illegally tie their cables with streetlight poles or leave them hanging overhead.

“The jammed overhead cables hanging in every street, particularly in areas like Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk and Paharganj, where tourists will throng during the Games, will be an eye sore,” said Roop Sharma, president of the Cable Operators Federation of India president.

“We tried talking to our association members to voluntarily lay their cables underground and sent them several letters on this, but the cable operators are reluctant to do so,” she added.

“Although the MCD conducted endless meetings and sent warnings, the local operators have refused to cooperate,” Sharma said.

MCD’s notices and formal meetings failed to create much awareness among local cable operators.

When IANS contacted Delhi Mayor Prithvi Raj Sawhney, he said: “The law is common to everyone. No politician can threaten or hinder the work of an official. We will remove the overhead cables.”

When asked about the timeframe for removal of cables, he didn’t say anything.

Jai Kishan Sharma, the leader of the opposition in MCD, told IANS: “Most of the cables which are hanging in various parts of Delhi are illegal. The MCD has no revenue benefit out of it; hence they should be removed.”

“They pose a threat to the lives of residents as many cables lie very low, obstructing vehicular movement. The overhead cables should be removed at the earliest in a clear and transparent manner,” he added.

(Prathiba Raju can be contacted at prathiba.r@ians.in)

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