Gujarat police deploy paramotoring for aerial surveillance during Parikrama

In a first in the state, the Gujarat Police has deployed paramotoring to carry out aerial surveillance over Girnar Mountain in Junagadh where the annual Parikrama was held from November 22 to 27.

According to Junagadh Superintendent of Police Harshad B Mehta, they came up with the idea after it became a challenging task for the police personnel to ensure safety of pilgrims inside the deep and dense forest with various blank spots of connectivity.

Recently, a video of the paramotoring surveillance by the police went viral on social media. In the video, a cop is seen holding a 360-degree zoom camera in his hand with an instructor behind him flying in the sky. He can be seen monitoring the traffic on the route and giving instructions to police camps posted on the ground to curb the rush to the hills during the heavy footfall witnessed during Parikrama when over 20 lakh people gather yearly to perform the annual pilgrimage.

“Throughout the Parikrama, there is no mobile network for the people because it is a deep and dense forest,” Mehta said. “This is the first time we have done something like this (paramotoring). Even with drones, we can’t gauge the exact scenario. I started the trial myself. Two people can fly at a time, including the pilot and the officer. The private pilot comes from a tourism background working in Dwarka and he has a flying experience of 500 hours. We got the expertise from him. It was under trial like an experiment but it worked wonderfully,” he added.

He also mentioned how the police require nearly three hours to reach the tricky deep forest areas and without any means of communication, it becomes incredibly hard and an “anxious” experience for the officials to ensure the safety of the civilians.

The Parikrama pilgrims, visitors to the Bhavnath Mahadev temple and tourists all have only one road to access these places and hence, result in congestion, the Junagadh SP said explaining the challenges.

On the benefits of using paramotoring as against drone surveillance, Mehta said, “We have limitations with drones. The forest falls under a wildlife sanctuary. The distance of the (Parikrama) route is around 36 kms, the capacity of the drone from wherever we start is a maximum of only 2-3 kms. But with paramotoring, we can do it over 60 kms and complete rounds as well,” he added. “However, with human intervention, I know where the deployments are being done.”

Previous articleBetter surveillance on borders: Tata bets big on high-resolution imagery satellites for military
Next articleOregon DPSST to approve private security licences amid calls for accountability