LAHORE, Aug 7: The Punjab Wildlife Department will install 16 new wireless CCTV cameras at the Lahore Zoo Safari with an estimated budget of Rs4.5 million, it is learnt.
Regrettably, the staggering amount spent on the 32 cameras already fixed at the Safari park will go down the drain. These cable-operated cameras were installed at the park back in 2006-07 at a cost of Rs3.5 million but developed faults.
Officials said at a meeting on Tuesday that the Zoo Management Committee gave the approval for 16 new CCTV wireless cameras for the Safari park. The 32 cameras earlier fixed were operated through cable.
A committee was formed to come up with SOPs for smooth functioning of cameras. The committee comprises the directors of the Lahore Zoo and Safari, members of Zoo Management Committee Osama Tariq and Dr Afzal.
Officials told this correspondent that the expensive cameras had gone out of order due to poor maintenance. They said some of these were still working but would not be utilised as repairs would require a lot of money.
The CCTV cameras were meant to be a major support because there are not sufficient wildlife watchers and wardens for an area of 242 acres. To avoid any security hazard, gardeners do the security job though they are not trained for the job.
The lion and tiger safaris are the most sensitive areas of the park. Visitors enjoy a trip in their vehicles and CCTV cameras help officials keep an eye on the public because of long grass and bushes.
An official of the Punjab Wildlife Department told Dawn on the condition of anonymity that wireless cameras would be fixed this time round. It was the cable of old cameras that caused trouble.
“A wireless camera covers a larger area compared to a cable camera,” said the official who added that the tenders for installing the new system would be advertised in the print media.
PWD Deputy Director Naeem Bhatti confirmed that approval for 16 new cameras had been given at the ZMC meeting.