To support and protect Lhakhangs around the country from burglary and vandalism cases, the Royal Bhutan Police came up with an initiative to install CCTV cameras in Lhakhangs in the country on a voluntary basis in 2016.
Though, the number of interested konyers and Lam’s were quite high in the beginning reaching around 300 to 400 but only 13 Lhakhangs actually came forward to install CCTV in their respective Lhakhangs.
11 Lhakhnags in Bumthang and two Lhakhnags in Lhuentse came forward to install the cameras. Of 13 Lhakhangs, only 11 installed CCTV as of now while the two Lhakhangs in Bumthang are under renovation. Everything was handed over, they will be installing it soon after the renovation.
Each package cost Nu 50,700 and consist of two cameras, a DOME and FIXED. DOME camera is installed inside while the FIXED camera is installed outdoor. The installation started from 9 May 2017.
Moreover, the camera has a motion detection sensor feature with which the sensor alarm will ring immediately after detecting movement inside the Lhakhang. The camera also has a internet facilities whereby after required setting, the lam or the konyer will be alerted if something goes wrong.
There are chortens all over the country and so criminals consider it as easy targets and find it easy to vandalize. Therefore, 80 percent of the chortens in the country are vandalized. However, there are some who again renovate the chortens with some Nangtens inside.
The Chief of Police, Colonel Chimmi Dorji said that, with cases of repeated vandalism, most of the Nangtens are now duplicates, be it a cat eye or be it other antiques. He also said that, even the criminals know about the duplicate Nangtens and so the case of chortens vandalism has been decreasing.
As a result, he said that, now they are attacking Lhakhnag Goendays around the country. He also said that, there are barely one to two konyers (caretaker) in each Lhakhang where some are privately owned lhakhangs and some are government owned lhakhangs.
“The government owned lhakgangs are well looked after by Zhung Dratshang while the main issue is with the private owned Lhakhangs where they fail to take a good care of it due to various challenges”, he added.
The Chief of Police said that, the criminals target those kinds of Lhakhangs where there is no permanent konyer and where the lhakhangs are left un-attended most of the time.
For this reason he said that, they came up with a plan of CCTV installation in Lhakhangs where the cost of the camera will be borne by the individual lhakhangs.
Their (RBP) only role was to identify the best cameras at a cheaper rate and to find a vendor to install the camera in interested Lhakhangs. He said that, at first, 300 to 400 volunteers came forward to go ahead with the installation of CCTV in lhakhangs.
With that, “We tendered out on 23 May 2016 and we had three bidders of which we have identified one and we negotiated the rates. After that, we have asked our OC’s in the country to ask those who came forward to come and get their cameras.”
“When it comes to the financials, everyone steps backward expecting help and support from the government. It is impossible that, the government will have that huge budget to install CCTV in every lhakhang in the country”, he added.
He also said that, they have taken the initiative to help and support them, but they are helpless if they don’t want, adding that, the burglary or vandalism easier in those lhakhangs who have no CCTV installed.
Police said that, they can terminate the contract with the vendor anytime if they fail to rectify the problem given by any installed cameras. The contract is valid for one year and the product comes with a one year warranty product.