The Eastern Peripheral Expressway, after being inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in UP’s Baghpat on 27 May, has fallen prey to a series of thefts amounting to Rs 4 crore.
Solar panels, barbed wires, iron gates on either sides of the expressway, LED lights installed in underpasses and steel fences have been stolen within less than a month of inauguration.
Local care-takers confirmed that there was not one solar panel that was untouched. “Right from Dasna up to Kundli, especially around places bordering Baghpat, each and every panel has either been stolen or has witnessed a failed attempt at it. The highway cuts across villages. Locals from both sides come at night, when we go away and take away things. There is negligible police patrolling here,” said Dhananjay Singh, a local contractor responsible for setting up the panels and fences in the area.
Ten kilometers further and we had entered the stretch which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister; spick and span. Local care-takers did not complain of any theft because of active police patrolling. Toll-booths were active which meant continuous surveillance.