The Lakes have eyes


BBMP will spend Rs 25-40 lakh per water body for CCTV cameras at 11 lakes, despite its previous experiments not going so well

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s camerasutra continues. Eleven lakes, which the BBMP has developed in the recent times, are all set to come under round-the-clock surveillance. This despite the BBMP installing 54 cameras in and around the Bellandur lake at a cost of Rs 5 crore and six months later, many of them were found defunct in November 2020.

The civic body is gearing up to install closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at different locations at these lakes at a total cost of Rs 5 crore including earthwork, control room and its maintenance for three years. In the first phase, 75 lakes are slated to get this facility. These cameras will have video analytical features to alert the control room about illegal activities as well as send out alerts on rising water levels.

On Saturday, the BBMP floated tenders for the installation and maintenance of CCTV cameras at 11 lakes. They are Ulsoor, Vibhuthi­pu­ra, Kalkere, Mahadevapura

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, Kowdenahalli, Kaigondanahalli, Garudacharpalya, Sankey tank, Yelahanka, Jakkur, Rachenahalli and Kempambudhi lake. The civic body has earmarked anywhere between Rs 25 lakh to Rs 40 lakh for each lake.

We are installing CCTV cameras in lakes that are developed, fenced and where the home-guards are deployed. This will also instil fear in the minds of miscreants who dump demolition waste or garbage here

— BT Mohan Krishna, Chief Engineer (Lakes) at BBMP

This facility is currently available in at least four lakes such as Bellandur, Varthur, Iblur and Devarabeesanahalli. “We are installing CCTV cameras in lakes that are developed, fenced and where the home-guards are deployed. This will also instill fear in the minds of miscreants especially those who regularly dump demolition waste or garbage inside the lake boundary,” said BT Mohan Krishna, Chief Engineer (Lakes) at BBMP.

In June, 2019, the High Court of Karnataka had directed BBMP to install CCTV cameras around all lakes to keep a vigil and prevent miscreants from indulging in illegal activities such as encroaching or damaging the water body.

While the BBMP has proposed CCTV cameras in 75 lakes across all eight zones in the first phase, the remaining 111 lakes are expected to be covered under the second phase. The civic body has already prepared a detailed project report (DPR). The entire project is estimated to cost at least Rs 50 crore.

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Officials said the cameras can detect intrusion, recognizes faces of miscreants, detect when a person enters a premise illegally especially by climbing over a boundary wall or fence etc. The BBMP plans to install surveillance cameras along the pedestrian pathway, the gates and at other strategic places where there is a lot of public activity. Officials might prune branches of the trees to facilitate the installation of the surveillance camera poles.

Dr Annapurna Kamath, member of the Jalposhan Trust, a citizen group working for the conservation of Jakkur lake, said CCTV cameras are very much required. “There are multiple access points at every lake. It is impossible for a security guard to monitor all such points. CCTV cameras will help the guard to monitor the lake by sitting in the control room,” she said. “We have found beer bottles in the lake and sometimes there are fires lit around the lake. In these instances, camera recordings will help,” she said.

Lake enthusiasts, while appreciating the move, also requested the BBMP to ensure that these new cameras are maintained in working condition. “It’s a good thing that the CCTV cameras are installed but the challenge is to effectively make use of them. Such cameras have also been installed at many regular trash points but people continue to dump garbage in these spots. The BBMP has not been able to do anything,” said Sanjeev Dyamannavar, who lives close to Rachenahalli lake.



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Sagar Biswas

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