Shillong, Sept. 15: Many solar plates are found missing at official buildings, schools and other public places in the state, raising suspicion of theft of these plates by goons to charge their electronic gadgets.
On September 7, Meghalaya police found a solar plate and a laptop from a Ulfa hideout at Danal Dasik in Songsak of East Garo Hills.
A police officer said the thieves could use the solar plates to charge batteries of cell phones and laptops while they were on the run in inaccessible terrain.
In the forest areas there are no means of charging the mobile phones and the only option is the solar plate.
There are chances that goons are procuring the solar plates by stealing them and selling these off to the rebels, police said.
The police are examining the involvement of a racket.
There have been 12 instances of theft of several solar plates this year from various parts of the state though no one has been arrested. The complainants include officials, heads of educational institutions and NGOs.
Fr Hubert Ch. Marak lodged a complaint at Mendipathar police station in East Garo Hills that on July 23 night, unknown persons stole a solar panel from Don Bosco School, Mendal, in the district.
The number of such incidents are higher in West Garo Hills.
The president, Mothers’ Union (MU), Tura, J.A. Sangma had lodged a complaint with Tura police station alleging that on the night of January 12 this year, thieves had stolen 13 solar light plates from Ganol Eco Park in West Garo Hills.
According to the complaint lodged by Fr Januarius S. Sangma, the headmaster of Don Bosco School, Tura, with Tura police station, on June 15 thieves stole three solar panels and three batteries which were installed near the school building.
The secretary of the Tura Officers’ Club, S.R. Marak, has lodged a complaint with Tura police station, alleging that unidentified thieves stole five solar plates of solar lamps units worth around Rs 28,000 from Tura Swimming Pool Complex in West Garo Hills on around 8.30am August 1.
The thieves also targeted government officials to steal solar plates.
According to a complaint lodged by Malti K. Marak, the district medical and health officer, Tura (West Garo Hills), unidentified thieves stole two sets of solar system lights from the roof of her office on the night of September 6.
On September 4, around 6.30 pm, solar panels were stolen from the deputy commissioner’s park in Tura.
The extra assistant commissioner of Dadenggre subdivision in West Garo Hills, P.K. Boro, lodged a complaint at Dadenggre police station that on September 7 night, miscreants stole a solar plate which was installed in the sub-divisional office complex, at Dadenggre.
West Garo Hills superintendent of police Dalton Marak said investigations were on to find out the culprits. “We have not arrested anyone in connection with the crime so far,” he said, adding that this appeared to be the handiwork of a group of thieves.
While there were two cases of theft of solar panels in Ri Bhoi district this year, there were three such cases in Shillong too.
The Assam Rifles Signal Unit, at Demseiniong, Shillong suffered a loss of Rs 1 lakh after goons stole solar panels on March 3.
On May 10, the miscreants targeted the air force compound at Eastern Air Command headquarters in upper Shillong to steal a solar plate.
Eight solar panels were also stolen from the premises of Providence School at Lummawrie, Laitumkhrah, Shillong on the evening March 26, according to a complaint with the Laitumkhrah police station, here.
The member secretary-cum-director of Meghalaya Nonconventional and Rural Energy Development Agency, John E. Rodborne said in all likelihood the crime must be the handiwork of some thieves. According to him, those who stole may be using them to charge mobiles or other electronic gadgets, he added.