February 21, 2009 3:58:30 am
If top officials of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation’s (VMC’s) Gas department are to be believed,a large number of residents of the walled city are actually ‘playing with fire’.
This fact was revealed when officials of the Gas department conducted a raid in the Yakutpura area and found that as many as 14 connections were taken from a gas line which was sealed almost three years ago.
What has shocked the officials is the fact that the connections were taken from the main line and it was divided into 14 connections by using simple rubber pipes.
“In such cases,the pressure is very high as there is no regulator between the main line and the gas stove. This could lead to a big tragedy especially in the congested localities. Moreover,while taking such illegal connections there are all possibilities of mishap,which people are not realising,” said Shailesh Naik,in-charge of the Gas project.
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VMC officials now plan to lodge a formal police complaint against Mehraj Gulam Mustafa Shaikh,a resident of Mogalwada in the Khatkiwad area for giving 14 illegal connections to others.
Naik added: “In most cases,by the time we enter the congested areas,the rubber pipes are pulled out,leaving no traces. But this time,we posed as surveyors,leaving our vehicles at a different place,and after noticing the connections,we cracked down. Still the 14 house owners,along with their family,locked the houses and vanished from the spot. We had to stop the supply and pull out the rubber pipes.”
The incident has also exposed the lackadaisical attitude of the concerned officials as despite specific information about the illegal connections,the department has failed to snap the same and impose strict monitoring.
“It is true that such raids are conducted after a long time. The loss incurred due to the illegal activity is also a major concern for us. At a time when we are working on new connections and widening our network,such issues become crucial for us,” said a senior VMC official on condition of anonymity. “We are now going to continue such raids and snap as many illegal connections as possible,” he added.
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