Chimi Dema | Tsirang

The Tsirang dzongkhag administration has replaced all 16 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras in the Damphu town on February 18 after the security devices had gone defunct since April, last year.

Two pan-tilt and zoom (PTZ) cameras with 8 megapixel (MP), which can capture 360-degree images of its surrounding, and two bullet cameras with 4MP were also installed in the dzong.

The security devices were first installed in and around the town in 2016 and 2018 at a cost of Nu 0.9 million.  In 2016, a Thimphu-based trader, TCD, installed about 10 Alcon brand cameras with 16 Channel network video recorder (NVR).  Two years later, a Damphu-based business, Gyeltshen Electronics, installed six HIKVISION brand cameras with 16 channels NVR.

Kuensel learnt that all the cameras were non-functional because of poor working experience, while officials claimed that three cameras were damaged by thunderstorms and lightning in April.

Replacing them was expected to be complete in December last year, but officials said that the Covid-19 pandemic and nationwide lockdowns impeded work progress.

To ensure durability and reliability of the cameras, the dzongkhag Information and Communication (ICT) Officer, Tshering Dorji said that the CCTV connection was also switched from wireless to fibre optic cable now.

“The wireless connection of the cameras in the past suffered frequent damage every time there was lightning and storm,” he said. “Which is why the adapter was damaged and the entire connection disrupted.”

He said that the previous cameras had only 1.5MP. “Most of the present cameras are of 4MP,” he said.

The dzongkhag administration spent around Nu 0.99M this time to install 20 cameras through new device technology.

The cameras have night vision features, 32 terabyte storage capacity and records would remain for a month.  They are also attached to backup batteries, which can keep them functional for an hour without electricity.

The dzongkhag handed over the cameras to Tsirang police.  A focal person each from the police and municipality was appointed to monitor the cameras.

Given the constant monitoring and surveillance in the wake of Covid-19, officials said that ensuring internal security hasn’t been a challenge.