In a bid to neutralise the terror threat during the festive season, the city police, in a first, will use multiple Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to monitor the sea of Ganesha devotees thronging the Girgaum Chowpatty area for immersion. This is a step ahead of the earlier method of surveillance using defence choppers during Ganeshotsav.
The last day of the Ganesha festival sees lakhs congregating at Girgaum Chowpatty, one of the biggest immersion points in the city. And, the Mumbai police are making special security arrangements to ensure that the event passes off peacefully. On an average, around 13,000 Ganesha idols are immersed at the chowpatty, of which 1,000 idols belong to sarvajanik mandals, each one of them drawing truckloads of crowds from numerous colonies across the city to the shore.
Confirming the use of UAV surveillance this Ganpati, additional commissioner of police (south region) Krishna Prakash said, “We will be asking for as many Netra UAVs as are available with the supplier to help maintain an aerial surveillance of the crowded immersion spot.”
UAV is a camera-fitted gadget that can take flight and hover at a given altitude. The camera, which gives a real-time moving video image of the ground below, can be linked with the police control room and the footage monitored on a computer screen. Coming between Rs15 lakhand Rs20lakh, a UAV can relay nearly 30 minutes of live footage.
Sources said nearly 24 night-vision CCTV cameras costing Rs20 lakh will be installed in and around the Girgaum Chowpatty until the immersion.
“These cameras can rotate 360 degrees and their footage relayed directly to the video-wall of the makeshift control room of the police. As the cameras are linked over the internet, their output can also be viewed by senior officers, including the police chief, on his office computer monitor,” said an officer from the DB Marg police station.
The police are also planning to videograph major immersion routes. “While plainclothes policemen will be present everywhere, we will also videograph some of the major Ganpati routes to capture every activity there,” said an officer of the special branch.