Losing valuables is never a pleasant feeling. But can you get back what you’ve lost on the Delhi Metro?
Picture this – since 2004 until now, Delhi Metro has found as much as Rs 17 lakh of cash in the trains in unclaimed wallets.
For an individual, Rs 17,05,665 to be precise (as retrieved by Delhi Metro), means an amount good enough to buy one of the premium models of the recently launched Hyundai Venue, an iPhone XS Max and after all this, there will still be some cash left to buy around 50 shares of Maruti Suzuki(at today's prices).
What can you do with that money is a question of choice but can one get their wallet, phone or other stuff lost on the Metro back?
"Yes," says Anuj Dayal, Executive Director, Corporate Communcations, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) and adds, “An average of around 600 items turn in every month with the Lost and Found department that include wallets, jewellery, phones, documents and lunch boxes.”
He adds that anyone can approach or contact the Lost and Found department at the Kashmere Gate metro station and claim their stuff back after submitting proof of identification.
One can call 8527405555 to share the details of their belongings and follow the instructions by the officials to reclaim it.
The standard protocol is that if any claimant reaches the station where they have lost their belonging(s) within 48 hours, they can retrieve their items after verification from the same station.
However, after 48 hours, the passengers will have to retrieve the said articles from Kashmere Gate Lost and Found department.
As per the officials at the Lost and Found department, even if the individual is late beyond the maximum stipulated time of 30 days, they can submit an application stating their delay and get their things back.
Yumna Ahmed, a frequent metro commuter, praised the promptness of authorities while helping her get back her lost valuables. “I had lost my camera at the Nehru Place metro station. On realisation, I immediately called the station number and apprised the officials of the situation. I was able to get my camera back the same day.”
Located in a discrete room at the ever-busy Kashmere Gate metro station, the Lost and Found department is a cornucopia of lost and unclaimed bags, bottles and clothes that hundreds of people lose everyday while travelling in the world’s third largest metro rail system.
One of the tasks apart from keeping such lost items safe is maintaining an online database of them on a day-to-day basis.
One can find a list of such items according to the date they were lost, the station they were found on and a brief description of the articles on the lost and found section on the DMRC website.
Common among these are bags, poly bags or carry bags, purses, lunch boxes, pen drives, cash, mobile phones among other things.
While this is valid for most lost items, wallets, purses containing important documents or mobiles are quite often stolen on the metro. Vipul, a student at Delhi University, mentions how he had to lodge an FIR to find his wallet after he was refused to be shown the CCTV footage from the station where the incident happened.
However, some wallets and other valuables do find their way back to the department, which can be claimed after verification.
But what happens when these items are not claimed by anyone?
Are these items sold or donated?
Interestingly, not many who lose their belonging(s) onboard the Metro or inside the Metro premises return to claim it.
As per DMRC data, in April 2019, a total of 616 articles were retrieved, out of which only 52 items were handed back to the owners.
Dayal also reiterates the same, “Around 10 percent items have been returned to their owners after proper verification in the last six months.”
In fact, DMRC data says that in the past 15 years, only 3,061 items out of 35,443 items received were handed over to their rightful owners after verification, that is, successful return percentage of a dismal 8.64.
Ayushi Malik, another regular commuter on the Delhi Metro, recalls losing her wallet on the Yellow Line of the Delhi Metro. However, she never went back to claim it.
Largely, commuters do not wish to undertake any hassle involved in retrieving their items.
Perhaps, this explains how Delhi Metro retrieved over Rs 17 lakh in all these years.
What happens to the unclaimed stuff?
According to a metro spokesperson, when the disposal time for items is due (roughly after six months), they are categorised as either valuables or non-valuable items and sent for disposal either through auction, tender or recycling.
Dayal says that these items are auctioned as scrap by the DMRC on the lines of how Indian Railways deals with unclaimed items.
These auctions are a minuscule source of revenue for the DMRC. According to data, between the years 2004 and 2019, a total of 31,221 items have been tendered out.In 2017-18, a lot of 750 valuable items were sold at a value of Rs 73,295 and a lot of 3,196 non-valuable items was sold at Rs 23,955.The Great Diwali Discount!
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