Work on the first phase of setting up a foolproof surveillance system in the twin towns of Dharamsala and McLeodganj to monitor the law and order situation and traffic management is nearing completion.
Of the total 32 high definition closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras proposed on various places in the first phase, over a dozen have already been installed and made functional on a trial basis. Of these, around two dozen are being installed on the 23 km stretch between McLeodganj and Mataur near Kangra. The entire project is pegged at around Rs 80 lakh.
"The first phase of the project is on the verge of completion and will be made functional within two weeks. Cameras have been installed at strategic points in Dharamsala and McLeodganj," said deputy superintendent of police (headquarters) Hitesh Lakhanpal, who is overseeing the project.
Important locations to be covered in the first phase include McLeodganj main square and the road connecting the palace of Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. "Around 10 cameras are being installed on this small stretch," Lakhanpal said, adding that cameras were also being installed in the Dharamsala cantonment area.
Besides, eight cameras are being installed at two important locations, Mataur Chowk - the junction of Mandi-Pathankot and Shimla-Pathankot highway - and at Gaggal from where the main road leads to Dharamsala.
"The surveillance system will not only help the police in keeping a vigil on the law and order situation and regulate the traffic, but would also improve the security system in place around the Dalai Lama's residence," Lakhanpal said.
The second phase will cover Naddi, Bhagsunag and Dharamkot villages.
Dharamkot village, around 4 km from McLeodganj town, is a favourite among Israeli tourists, and hence is called "Tel Aviv of the Hills".
Last year, a terror threat to Israeli tourists had kept the district police on their toes for over a month. With no proper surveillance system, the authorities faced difficulty in keeping a vigil in Dharamkot and a large police force was deployed.
Naddi village is also a famous tourist destination, while Bhagsunag is an important religious place visited by hundreds of tourists from adjoining states to take a dip in the waters of a pond considered sacred.