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Friday, Nov 22, 2019

To keep an eye on miscreants, Odisha village gets CCTV cameras

Sarpanch of Haldi, Gopinath Panigrahi said the idea of installing the CCTV cameras came due to rising lumpenness by drunkards of the village.

india Updated: Aug 30, 2019 22:32 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneshwar
This Odisha village has installed CCTV cameras to cease incidents related to drunkenness.
This Odisha village has installed CCTV cameras to cease incidents related to drunkenness. (HT PHOTOS)
         

It’s quite commonplace for cities in Odisha to have CCTV cameras all across its streets, but for the first time a grampanchayat in a backward district of the State has installed CCTV cameras in a village to keep an eye on miscreants.

Since last 8 months, the streets of Haldi village in Muribahal block of Bolangir district are under surveillance of 29 CCTV cameras that are keeping an eye on potential miscreants. The cameras fitted to electric poles cover more than 80 per cent area of the village. It’s “the first village in Bolangir and as far as I know in Odisha to have CCTV surveillance across its length and breadth,” said Muribahal block development officer Sipak Patra.

Sarpanch of Haldi, Gopinath Panigrahi said the idea of installing the CCTV cameras came due to rising lumpenness by drunkards of the village. “As National Highway 59 is passing by Haldi, many trucks were parked near the village at night. There were reports of many workers of the trucks indulging in theft with the help of local people. Besides, we were getting complaints of eve-teasing of school and college girls. It’s then we decided to get CCTV cameras for the village,” said Panigrahi, who bought the cameras from the grampanchayat fund at a cost of Rs 3 lakh.

But the idea of installing CCTV camera initially did not meet with approval as some villagers thought that the open defecation may get caught in the cameras and may embarrass them. The sarpanch however assured them that the CCTV feed can only be assessed by using a secret code known to him and the panchayat extension officer only.

To ensure uninterrupted power for the CCTV cameras, the panchayat managed to persuade several private houseowners to allow them to connect to their personal inverters. However, quite a few are still at the mercy of the village power lines and stop operating if there is a power cut. The camera feed is stored for 21 days after which it gets deleted automatically. The cameras are connected to two monitors, one of which belongs to a local shopowner.

More than 8 months after the installation of the CCTV cameras, local people say there has been a palpable reduction in crime. Manoranjan Mahananda, a local villager said after installing the CCTV cameras there has been 30 per cent reduction in crime. “Forcible collection of puja chanda from vehicles on the NH have also stopped. The market near the village square which connects Muribahal with Badamunda and Titlagarh was a crime prone area. Now there is lot of peace there,” he said.

Police officials at local Muribahal police station say the CTV cameras have taken some burden off their back. “Recently, we managed to catch a mobile thief with the help of the camera. As people are more conscious of the surveillance, the chances of crimes too have gone down considerably,” said inspector Ranjan Bariha of Muribahal police station.

The success of the project however did not seem to have impressed a villager who allegedly broke one camera recently. One monitor too got burnt by lightning strike.

Panchayat extension officer HK Das said the cameras are now being monitored offline but there is a proposal to install 10 WiFi-enabled cameras in the village.

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