Engineer Biser Minchev, comptroller general on safety in the National Company Railway Infrastructure (NCRI) for FOCUS News Agency
Focus: Eng. Minchev, thefts and attacks on railway infrastructure are among the main problems of the NRIC. What is the situation now?
Biser Minchev: Unfortunately, this year, theft and vandal attacks on elements of railway infrastructure remain being a major threat to the safety of passengers and cargo, and also for the staff of the company. Mass was being stolen facilities in the insurance and telecommunications equipment, power and energy facilities, traffic lights and other traffic signals, railroad tracks, fasteners and all metal parts that can be sent for scrap.
Focus: What does the analysis of the attacks show?
Biser Minchev: There is large number of thefts of metal rails and reinforcing bars of railway bridges, in analyzing the information on the subject of attacks. Only in February were found stealing about 600 meters parapet elements. In the same month was perpetrated stealing of 1700 m in highway cable in the section between the two stations Sindel and Razdelna. The cost of repairing the damage will exceed several times the market value of the stolen materials.
Focus: What is the value of the damages?
Biser Minchev: From 01. 01. 2011 to 31. 12. 2011 the company registered 1127 thefts totaling BGN 1,862,138. Since the beginning of the year to March were found 173 violations worth BGN 183 870. About 70% of the damages are caused by theft of cables, wires and other equipment containing cathode copper.
Most losses in 2011 were registered in the region of Gorna Oryahovitsa – amounting at BGN 526 156 and the Sofia region – amounting at BGN 293,590
The negative trend continued this year, up to February 2012 theft in these areas totaled BGN 47,000 or about 50% of all attacks.
Focus: Is there any seasonality in the attacks?
Biser Minchev: Detailed analysis of records shows that most attacks are carried out precisely in the late winter and early spring and summer months thefts decreased. In January, the damage amounted to BGN 40 515, compared to the damage of theft for March totaled BGN 89,150.
Focus: Are there more preferred areas of theft?
Biser Minchev: Thefts are concentrated in several problem areas:
The area of the city - Poduene station - Poduene distribution - Birimirtsi
The region of Pleven - Pleven - Yasen – Dolna Mitropoliya
The region of Gorna Oryahovitsa - Dzhuliunitsa – Strazhitsa, Gorna Oryahovitsa - Resen
The region of Varna - Velichkovo - Yunak, Sindel – Razdelna.
Focus: What measures are taken against the attacks?
Biser Minchev: Management of NRIC is carrying out long-term policy of reducing thefts and attacks on the railway infrastructure in Bulgaria, as passenger safety is a priority of the Company.
Unfortunately, the Company's ability to prevent attacks is limited because it does not have the resources and powers. However, the Company began replacing copper cables with fiber which has not been subject to attacks. There is ongoing and gradual mounting of CCTV in railway stations and railway crossings.
To reduce theft, we rely on our good interaction with Transport Police and other structures of the Ministry of Interior.