Spy in the sky to watch over Dasara Grand Finale

Mysuru:  Drones are back this Dasara and this eye in the sky will keep a vigil on the streets providing an additional layer of security. Four drone cameras will be fitted to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) apart from over 60 CCTV cameras that will be a part of mechanised security monitoring this year.

Such aerial image-making  has caught the fancy of professionals as well as lensmen. Although drones or UAVs were deployed earlier in Mysuru by the Police to monitor crowds and help maintain law and order during the Vijayadashami procession, the practice had been discontinued of late.

Interestingly, the use of drone cameras has been banned as per Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) directions. The DGCA notice of 2014 said the International Civil Aviation Organisation was yet to come up with standards for certification and operation of UAV and UAS for civil use.

“The airspace over cities in India has high density of manned air traffic. Due to lack of regulation, operating procedures/standards and uncertainty of technology, UAS poses a threat for air collisions and accidents,” the notice said.

Eye on pickpockets

The notice notwithstanding, the City Police is going ahead and using drone cameras for Dasara security. The UAVs will monitor the Jumboo Savari Route from the Palace till Bannimantap and images will be transmitted to the Control Room set up at the City Police Commissioner’s Office. These UAVs will fly 30 to 40 feet from the ground and will keep an eye on pickpockets, chain-snatchers and violence-mongers.

Wildlife experts oppose

The Police decision to use drone cameras has, however, not gone well with wildlife experts. “It is not right to use drones when 12 elephants are moving in a procession. The drone sound will distract the elephants as they have a sharp hearing sense. We have had examples in the past where elephants have panicked due to the UAV sound. Even if the Police are bound to use drones, they must be flown far from elephants without distracting them,” a wildlife enthusiast said.

60 CCTV cameras

Apart from the UAVs, over 60 CCTV cameras will be installed all along the procession route. These cameras will be installed at vantage points, Circles and junctions. Visuals of the cameras will be monitored at the Control Room where giant screens have been set up. Information will be immediately passed on to the jurisdictional Police and Police patrol teams in case of trouble.

3,000 Policemen

Over 3,000 Policemen will be deployed for Dasara security and they will be drawn from other districts. “The special Police force will coordinate with the local Police and teams will be distributed to man the security of all the Dasara programmes venues. More Policemen will be deployed at the venues that will see huge footfalls,” said City Police Commissioner Dr. A. Subrahmanyeswara Rao.

Mobile commando force

The specially trained mobile commando force that is under the command of the city Police will be deployed to provide additional layer of security. The commando force has many advanced vehicles that can enter any site of disturbance and at the same time capture images from all directions through the cameras installed on the vehicle roof, the Commissioner added.

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