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In Telangana’s Karimnagar, police deploy drone to stop open defecation

Police go high-tech to stop open defecation near a water reservoir from where drinking water is supplied to Karimnagar town.

india Updated: Nov 16, 2017 07:55 IST
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Srinivasa Rao Apparasu
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Telangana police,Karimnagar,Surveillance drone
The police identified the people indulging in open defecation and garlanded them in public.(Representational Photo)

A drone camera to catch people red-handed in the act is the latest strategy of the police in Telangana’s Karimnagar district to prevent open defecation on the banks of a local reservoir.

Police say the exercise which began Monday has yielded excellent results within three days.

“The number of people indulging in open defecation has come down drastically by Wednesday,” Karimnagar commissioner of police VB Kamalasan Reddy told Hindustan Times.

The reservoir of Lower Manair Dam (LMD), located on the outskirts of Karimnagar town on Hyderabad road, has been serving as a drinking water source for the people of the town. It is guarded by a team of police of the LMD police station. Initially, the police introduced the drone camera with a view to keep an eye on people jumping into lake to commit suicide and save them from drowning. The drone also keeps a watch on drunkards assembling on the reservoir banks to help the police take action against them.

“But recently, we have been receiving a lot of complaints from local walkers’ association that some people from the nearby slums and weaker sections’ colonies go to the banks of the lake to ease themselves early in the morning and they want the help of the police to prevent them. It then struck us that the drone camera can also be used to identify such people,” Reddy said.

Ironically, almost all the houses in these colonies have toilets. “Yet, people were habituated to come out early in the morning for open defecation, despite the hectic campaign about Swachh Bharat in the last two years. So, we thought we could shame them by exposing them through drone camera,” the commissioner said.

When it was first introduced three days ago, people thought it was just a toy hovering over their heads. “Later in the day, the police with the help of the local walkers’ association members went round three colonies, showed them the visuals and counselled them against spoiling the water in the reservoir that supplies drinking water to the town people. They understood and agreed to cooperate with us. In the next two days, the results were excellent,” Reddy said.

Karimnagar Walkers’ Association member Kudali Srinivas said the open defecation had become a big menace for walkers, who include many women. “Besides, a number of students from nearly engineering college hostels also come to the lake bank for jogging and also studies. These people defecating in the open were a big embarrassing for them. The drone idea did the trick,” he said.

With the help of the association members, the police identified the people indulging in open defecation and garlanded them in public. “This was done to bring a sense of shame and also responsibility in them, so that they do not repeat the act,” Srinivas said.

Naming and shaming people to stop open defecation is a controversial issue although the police say it is not to insult anybody but only to sensitise them. Offenders were garlanded only on the first day.

The police want to continue the drone surveillance on the banks of the lake after checking the open defecation. “We are now focusing on pig-rearers who bring their animals to the reservoir bank and make the waters dirty,” the police commissioner added.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 07:54 IST