The Vellore Corporation has decided to install infrared and face recognition cameras at select spots in the 16th century granite fort to prevent stealing of the decorative lights.
The initiative comes after a series of thefts of the new LED lights that were reported especially on the lawn between the moat and the outer wall area. Thefts occurred, officials said, due to poor surveillance in the grey areas where physical monitoring had been a challenge. Some of the grey areas include Circle Road and moat border areas on the rear side of the fort. Movement of people, including motorists, are less in these areas during night. As a result, miscreants take advantage of lack of surveillance to steal the new lights. Officials said that the need for cameras came up after 1,600 metres of underground copper cables were stolen. “Around 90 per cent of lighting work has been completed. We have asked the contractor to give an estimate on the expenses for these cameras,” P. Ashok Kumar, Commissioner, Vellore Corporation, told The Hindu. As per plan, cameras will be installed around the fort complex, covering its 3 km radius. These cameras will be linked to the main control rooms at the civic body’s headquarters, Collectorate, Superintendent of Police office and South Police station. Police and civic officials will get alerts if there are any activities in the fort complex especially in the grey areas. Currently, the Corporation has not taken up the maintenance of these new lights due to a few ongoing works in the fort complex. Once works get completed, the installation of cameras will be done in a month.
Ornamental lights have been installed at 97 spots on the outer wall of the fort, covering 2,600 m around the moat. The parapet wall, a protected monument, also has 900 lamps. The entire work is being done under the Smart Cities Mission project at a cost of ₹9 crore.