300 CCTVs to keep an eye on you at the Byculla zoo

After manifold rise in visitor numbers, BMC chalks out R5cr plan to check rising crime on premises

The Byculla zoo has seen a sudden rise in footfall after the arrival of the Humboldt penguins. File photo

The surge in visitors at the Byculla zoo ever since an enclosure housing seven Humboldt penguins was opened on March 18, has posed a challenge for zoo officials. Unable to manually manage the large crowds, the civic body has decided to install CCTV cameras across the Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo. According to the authorities, there has been a four-fold rise in the number of visitors since March.

In order to prevent untoward incidents, the civic authorities plan to monitor movement inside the Byculla zoo.

A source from the BMC said nearly 300 CCTVs, along with a public addressal system, will soon be installed at the premises. A senior official from the Mechanical and Electrical department said, "The BMC will spend R5 crore on this initiative. The contractor hired will be responsible for maintenance and providing services for five years, with a 24-month guarantee on equipment.

Instances of theft, tiffs between visitors and civic officials as well as other incidents have increased on the premises. As the zoo is frequented by countless people from across the state as well as outstation tourists every day, we want to tighten security on the 53-acre premises. Also, it will help in crowd management."

Byculla Zoo. Representation picByculla Zoo. Representation pic

He added, "Two years ago, a security guard was held for stealing jewellery inside the zoo premises. So, we are hoping that the CCTVs will also help us keep an eye on the staff," he said.

An official said that between 4,000 to 5,000 people visit the zoo on weekdays and 10,000 to 15,000 during weekends. This was before the penguins were brought in. Now, the numbers have increased to 10,000 on weekdays and 35,000 to 40,000 on weekends or public holidays.

Despite an increase in the entry fee, from R5 to R100, over 76,000 people visited the zoo in the month of August.

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