More than 10 manhole covers have been stolen from places around Rashbehari Avenue in the past month but no one has been arrested, mayoral council member Debashis Kumar told Calcutta police’s joint commissioner of police (headquarters) during a meeting on Monday.
Kumar said no one could be identified for the thefts despite there being CCTVs along the road.
The loss of the manhole covers poses a risk to the safety of commuters.
“About 10 or 12 manhole covers have been stolen in the past month. If the police do not act, this cannot be stopped. No one has been arrested to date,” Kumar said at a Puja preparedness meeting at the civic body’s headquarters.
“I have instructed the police stations to check on this and remain sensitive to such complaints,” Santosh Pandey, the joint commissioner (headquarters), told Metro.
The price of a cast-iron manhole cover ranges between Rs 20,000 and Rs 40,000 depending on its diameter and weight. The ones on large sewer lines may cost even more.
A CMC official said Kumar raised the issue at the meeting as civic officials were concerned that such thefts during the Puja could lead to accidents.
“It seems an organised gang does this. If there is a missing manhole cover on the day of Puja when thousands of pandal hoppers will be on the street, it can lead to an accident,” said the official.
The depth of a manhole is between 8ft and 14ft and a pedestrian can drown if they fall into it.
The official added that there was a standing instruction for engineers to lodge a police complaint in case of such thefts.
All the stolen manhole covers were made of cast iron and they can fetch a good price in the market, said the official.