| Bikes parked on the basement of Ranchi district collectorate. Telegraph picture
Bike lifters have breached the boundary of the district collectorate in Ranchi, thanks to its unmanned parking lot.
Two motorcycles belonging to employees working at the SPs office went missing in the recent past while bikes of two other collectorate staff were stolen in October and November last year, raising a question mark on security arrangements at the building at Kutchery.
According to police sources, in the recent cases, the stolen two-wheelers belonged to Rajendra Gope, an accountant at the SPs office, and an orderly, Rajesh Pingua. While Gopes bike was stolen from the parking lot last month, Pingua lost his three months ago. Two FIRs were registered at Kotwali police station. But the bikes have not been recovered yet, a police officer said.
Jagjeevan Jha, who works as a clerk at the same office, claimed his bike was also stolen from the same parking lot in September 2010. The vehicles are lifted either on holidays or after 6pm on working days when the parking lot, located at the basement, goes unattended, he said.
Officials at Nazarat deputy collectors office admitted the problem but maintained that three home guards keep an eye on the parked vehicles.
However, those at the SPs office pointed out that the home guards stay on duty from 10am to 6pm. The parking lot goes unmanned the rest of the day and night. Moreover, we come to work before 10am and stay on till after 6pm, an official pointed out.
Sources said that security of bikes and vehicles kept at the parking lot had always been a matter of concern for the authorities. In fact, several attempts were made to beef up security but the efforts did not yield result.
DC K.K. Soan introduced a parking fee for visitors and employees. The rates were Rs 5 for two-wheelers and Rs 10 for four-wheelers and the system came into effect on August 2, 2011. The job of collecting the parking fee was handed over to contractor Hemant Kumar Sahu, who promised to pay Rs 4.21 lakh per annum to the district administration. Sahu had even paid Rs 1.58 lakh till February this year but could not ensure proper security to the vehicles. After the thefts, the contract was not renewed after March 31, an official said.
Kotwali OC S.B. Sharma accepted that bike lifters are very much active in areas under their jurisdiction. Every month, eight to 10 cases of bike thefts are reported at Kotwali police station. Though the number of incidents is less at the district collectorate, the place is not beyond the reach of bike gangs. I have asked my men to conduct surprise checks and nab the thieves, he added.