For those heading to the banks of the Lower Manair Dam near Karimnagar town for a day of open air drinking and boisterous fun, trouble whirls overhead. The long arm of the law gets to them not from the ground, but from a drone above.
The dam on the Manair river is a key tourism target for the Telangana government, and it has decided to clean up the reservoir area, removing unruly visitors who drink in public places. The Karimnagar police use a drone camera that yields high resolution images, and can zoom in on those who settle down with a bottle, often beside a car or two-wheeler.
On a tip-off last week, the police drone flew over the azure blue water body and zeroed in on inebriated youth. A team went in and caught them. Karimnagar Police Commissioner V.B. Kamalasan Reddy chose the drone camera after open drinking led to several complaints. The town, spread across 24.5 km has a population of 3.5 lakh.
The aerial patrols, launched on October 10, have led to the arrest of 198 people, covering not just the reservoir banks but also the outskirts of the town and open government lands. Beyond the dam and its recreational parks, the patrols now extend to Huzurabad, Bommakal, Rekurthi and Elgandal fort.
Walkers and area residents supported the project by taking part in a walkathon on Police Commemoration Day. “For the first time since the reservoir was built, visitors can stroll without any nuisance,” said senior citizen Narayan Prakash.