Almost 300 lhakhangs to install CCTVs

The lhakhangs will purchase the equipment at their own cost

Security: A total of 296 kyonyers (caretakers) have agreed to install CCTVs (close circuit television) in their lhakhangs following a nationwide sensitization on lhakhang and choeten vandalism that the police conducted last year.

Installation of CCTVs in lhakhangs is being pursued to prevent robberies and vandalism, among other crimes.

The police have already identified two firms that will supply CCTV equipment to the lhakhangs at a reasonable rate. The two firms will supply the equipment for Nu 49,400 and Nu 53,296 each.

Besides the 296 lhakhangs, all superintendents of police (SP) have been asked to coordinate with lhakhang caretakers in their respective dzongkhags to install CCTV.

RBP’s spokesperson, deputy chief of crime and operations Colonel Dorji Wangchuk said that the caretakers could buy the CCTV equipment directly from the suppliers with the help from the SPs.

Chief of police Brigadier Kipchu Namgyal said that the installation of CCTVs will prevent vandalism and burglary. “It can be monitored through mobile phones even if a lhakhang is managed by a lone caretaker,” he said, adding that it is a convenient and useful method. “A minimum of two cameras each is recommended for each lhakhang.”

Brigadier Kipchu Namgyal also said that the installation of the CCTVs would not cost the national exchequer, as the cost will be borne by the respective lhakhangs.

Police said that even prominent monasteries don’t have CCTVs while those in place are not functioning.

Records with the police show that offenses against the Ku-Sung-Thukten is one of top seven crimes in the country and one of the most heinous. Last year, 129 such offenses were reported from 230 the previous year.

Police attributed the drop to the hard work of the special investigation team that was formed following an increase in such cases. Last year the team forwarded 140 offenders to the court of which 78 were convicted.

“We are taking it (choeten and lhakhang vandalism) seriously and the special investigation team will continue its crackdown,” Brigadier Kipchu Namgyal said.

In the last 27 years, about 4,000 choetens and lhakhangs were vandalized, which translates to 148 a year. In 2014, police recorded a 12 percent increase in cases involving offenses against the Ku-Sung-Thukten or statues, scriptures, and lhakhangs.

On the monitoring and implementation part, police said that with recording facilities it would not be difficult. However, it would be further discussed with the respective caretakers.

“The cameras will have to be placed at strategic locations and the quality of the image should be good without which it will not serve the intended purpose,” Colonel Dorji Wangchuk said.

Changangkha Lhakhang installed six CCTVs last month at a cost of Nu 76,500.

Changangkha Lhakhang’s Lam Yeshey is hopeful that people will be more cautious within the lhakhang premises besides preventing robbers from entering.

Lam Yeshey also said that currently he monitors the lhakhang from his house without having to go around the lhakhang premises. “In future, we will upgrade the system so that we will be able to monitor it from our mobile phones,” he said.

Similarly, Dechenphu Lhakhang also has plans to install CCTVs to safeguard the lhakhang.

Kinga Dema

5 replies
  1. logical
    logical says:

    All lhakhangs should watch the entry and exit of people because the same person can have two lives.
    Some enter in as DEVOTEE/WORSHIPER and walk away with his real self, the VANDAL and THIEF. The CCTV cameras can remain OFF during day time when caretaker is awake and people/attendants are present in and around for the faithful to keep live watch!

    Some people who realised the fact and decided not to worship the arts and crafts, the workmanship of the hands of convicted criminals seeking solace in the shadow of their deeds do not go to lhakhangs at all nor defile themselves by the objects in them. Yet, guarding the lahkhangs with WATCH ensures the safety of what is kept and worshiped in them.

  2. Trakar
    Trakar says:

    hello
    i do not really make sense of ” The police have already identified two firms that will supply CCTV equipment to the lhakhangs at a reasonable rate. The two firms will supply the equipment for Nu 49,400 and Nu 53,296 each.”
    are these figures for each lhakhang ??? or for all ?

    Plus how is the community going to pay for it ? Not clear

    Lastly, who is going to maintain the network ?
    Thank you

  3. drukdradorji
    drukdradorji says:

    Opps minimum cost for CCTV set is Nu. 49k plus. Is that a reasonable price given to the koenyer? Let koenyer find their own choice to buy. Thats too expensive. I hope there is no corruption involved. If we buy CCTV 4 Channels with 500GB storage and 25 meters cable each with 4 cameras free from Bangkok it cost only Nu. 12000/=. Common, this is not at reasonable price. A person would fetch 4 CCTV sets with same price they pay here.

  4. sibidai
    sibidai says:

    Installing 6 CCTV in Changangkha located in the heart of Thimphu cost Nu 76,500. Other lhakhangs are located in far off places where roads don’t exist and possible majority required solar power to power the close circuit system. So by any conservative estimate the cost will be not lower than 100 thousand per lhakhang. So, the hardware installation estimate for 300 spots will be around Nu 30 million as current cost if not more. And, this doesn’t include transport, manning and maintenance cost.

    It may sound atheistic but guarding these religious edifices should be the responsibility of the lams and netens who are in away looked after by the state. Its waste of govt resource to fund such project purely for religious purpose. May be govt should delved into fresh approach to make these lhakhangs become self-sustaining by introducing programs that generates income, while government resources is utilised to better the lives of people through tangible development activities.
    Lets not waste money on activities that can be met by adopting innovative self-sustaining approaches.

  5. chopel
    chopel says:

    Hope the camera generates better quality images, not like recent case of JDWNRH where person looks ghost alike. Should serve the purpose.

    Further what about the capacity of care takers to operate this system? If I am not wrong, most of the caretakers in villages are illiterate and operates their black and white phone through signs and symbols. I think RMP and MOHCA need to brainstorm on this issues to make it work.

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