THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Not many would consider manhole covers valuable. However, for two thieves from Thiruvananthapuram, the covers made entirely of cast iron became the means to earn some quick bucks to buy their daily quota of liquor.
In just a week, Aneesh, 33, of Poikamukku and Jayakumar, 39, of Venjaramoodu, stole around 20 manhole covers from main thouroughfares as well as pocket roads around the state capital and sold them to scrap dealers for a hefty total of `1 lakh, most of which they used to buy liquor. The duo was nabbed by the Pothencode police recently.The police said the thieves targeted the manhole covers due to the cast iron that is used to make them.
Manhole covers sold for Rs 5,000 each
They would lift the covers, weighing over 50kg each, using specially-crafted tools and whisk them away in an autorickshaw.“The duo left several sewers open, posing a huge risk to motorists and pedestrians,” said Pothencode SHO Mithun D.
“Many manhole covers were removed in a way that made it tough for people to see that the sewers were open. It was dangerous. We had to plead with the contractors of Kerala Water Authority to cover the sewers,” Mithun said, adding that he had assured the contractors that the thieves would be arrested soon
A source with the police said the covers having a cast iron frame could fetch up to `20,000.
“The thieves sold the covers for `5,000 each and used the money to buy liquor. They are addicted to alcohol,” said the source. The Pothencode police said the thieves did not even spare manhole covers from remote areas like Kallara and Attingal.The police was able to retrieve some of the stolen manhole covers. The others had already been melted by the scrap dealers who had purchased them from the thieves.