Bengaluru lakes still have no CCTV

BBMP City State

Lakes under BBMP are yet to get CCTV cameras. The BBMP has called for tenders for the sixth time since 2019.

Lakes that fall under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) still have no closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras despite a Karnataka High Court order in June 2019 to install them. The BBMP said that they have called for tenders for the sixth time to install these cameras.

Shashi Kumar, Chief Engineer, Lakes, BBMP said, “This is the sixth time we have issued the tender to install the CCTV cameras. Earlier there were no bidders but this time the tender is under process as there is one bidder and we have sent it for approval of the higher government authorities. The work should be done in a month and a half”. The first tender was issued in 2019.He added that there were no bidders previously as the contractor has to not only install the cameras but also ensure the maintenance of these cameras at the lake for two years.

In 2019 according to the Karnataka High court order, the BBMP had to install cameras at the 202 lakes that fall under it to keep vigilance, prevent encroachments and other illegal activities in and around the lakes. The order came as a result of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The PIL was filed by the Environment Support Group and Leo Saldanha, to enquire about the storm water drains (SWD’s) and lakes in the city.

The BBMP has phased out the installation with the first phase consisting of installing cameras at 12 lakes. Shashi Kumar said, “We decided on the lakes based on their size and problems they were facing. If the installation is successful at these 12 lakes, then the same manner would be followed for other lakes the official added.”

The 12 lakes that will come under the phase one of installing CCTV cameras by the BBMP

T.V. Ramachandra, Scientific Officer, Indian Institute of Science said “Surveillance is the essential part, provided we have functional cameras and make that data available on a public platform and use that data to resolve the problems. If it is just for the sake of court orders it is of no use.”

Manisha, a regular visitor to Ulsoor lake, said, “The concept of CCTV is good there should be some way to monitor the garbage dumping and other problems but it will affect the privacy of people so that should be kept in mind.”

Sharvani, another regular Sankey Tank lake visitor, said, “The lake is very well maintained and CCTV cameras would be great as the guards at the lakes cannot monitor all places at once so the lake would continue to be in good condition.” She also added the privacy would be infringed so that should be kept in mind while monitoring.

Ram Prasad, Founder of Friends of Lakes, said, “If we are able to see only movement of people then it is useless. We should be able to recognize the faces and capture what is necessary to solve the issue. Vulnerable areas should be recognized and discussed with local citizen lake groups and then put the cameras up there. Also, the ward committees should be involved.”

“We can keep tabs on entry and exit and what all happens regularly at the lake. The data that we get from monitoring will help us to avoid any problems. The guards are present but people enter from different gates and dump garbage and many times medical waste is dumped, ” said Narayanappa, President of KR Puram lake and environmental trust.

Srinivasa, member of Sri Muneshwara Fisheries Cooperative society said about the Kaigondanahalli Lake that, “ the cameras will help with keeping vigilance on illegal activities, suicides and safety of women can be monitored but the question is will they maintain the camera.”

According to the tender issued by the BBMP the budget for this project is Rs.5 crore and the grant is approved under the “Shubhra Bengaluru” scheme. “The cameras that will be installed at these lakes will have 24-hour CCTV surveillance and a face recognition system. There will be a maintenance room and the cameras will be connected to the local police station for better surveillance at night as Marshals or guards cannot be present at all places,” said Shashi Kumar.

The 12 lakes to be covered in the first phase are, Ulsoor Lake, Vibhutipura lake, Kalkere Lake, Mahadevapura Lake, Kowdenhalli Lake, Kaigondanahalli Lake, Garudacharpalya Lake, Chinnappanahalli Lake, Sankey Tank, Yelhanka Lake, Jakkur Lake, and Rachenhalli Lak