Two years after installation at Nu 1.5 million

Nima | Gelephu

The border town of Gelephu, in 2016, resorted to closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras for enhanced surveillance of the town that was seeing an increase in population.

Maintaining the cameras has been a problem. About 14 CCTV cameras were installed in and around the town at a cost of Nu 500,000. Howver, within a year, five cameras had to be replaced in 2017 and 2018. Replacing them cost over Nu 57,000.

Two years after the installation, the thromde had to replace all the cameras at a cost of about Nu 500,000. Since 2016, thromde had invested over Nu 1 million to install CCTV cameras in the town.

Thromde officials said that the cameras were damaged by lightning and storms. The thromde installed a total of 33 CCTV cameras, including the replacements and while upgrading the CCTV connection using fibre optic cable in 2018.

Thromde had to replace damaged cameras while the works for the maintenance were done by the supplier in 2017 and 2018.

Only four cameras were operational when the thromde upgraded the whole set of CCTV cameras using fibre optic cable connection.

The thromde ICT division had to call for the quotation to replace the cameras and install new cameras annually since CCTV cameras were first installed.

“There was no proper earthing system and a lightning resistor that protects the device from damage,” said the thromde’s IT officer, Kezang Choden.

The officials said ensuring constant surveillance through CCTV cameras in Gelephu town was challenging since the cameras suffered frequent damage every time there is a heavy downpour or storm.

Gelephu thromde switched CCTV connection from wireless to fibre optic cable now.

The office also moved the cameras from poles to private buildings, where a proper earthing system was available to ensure undisturbed connection and reduce damages.

But, two out of 14 cameras are non-functional today.

The connection is also disturbed when owners turn off the main power supply of the building the cameras are attached to during bad weather.

ICT officials from the thromde said earlier when the cameras had a wireless connection; they had to undergo repeated maintenance.

“We have started using fibre optic lines and the connections are much better now. Maintenance is not required,” Kezang Choden said.

Thrompon Tikaram Kafley said the equipment could not last the expected lifetime and had to be repaired frequently.

“Repairing the cameras could not be done immediately owing to unfavourable weather conditions, especially during summer,” he said.

He said that the thromde is concerned about internal security and the cameras play a vital role. “It has become very effective and we’ve got good feedback from the police,” he said.

The thromde is going to install six more cameras to improve the surveillance along the porous border in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic.

Thromde’s procurement officer, Kuenga said the camera specification depends on the budget. “Earlier the quality of the cameras was low because the budget was less,” he said.

The six additional ones on the border are high-quality cameras. The thromde plans to invest over Nu 500,000 to install them.

The work was awarded through open tender. A supplier from Gelephu installed the wireless cameras in 2016. In 2018, a supplier from Thimphu, who got the work through open tender, upgraded it to the optic fibre CCTV.