With patrolling drones monitored by police personnel, and public garlanding ceremonies -- the Karimnagar police hope to shame people out of open defecation.

Open defecators beware In Karimnagar there are drones waiting to catch you in the actFacebook/ B Vinod Kumar
news Swachh Bharat Wednesday, November 15, 2017 - 14:11

Imagine the scene – you’ve woken up early in the morning feeling the pressure of last night’s meal weighing on your bowels. You grab a mug of water and pick your way carefully to a secluded spot, where nobody sees you and sit down with relief. But suddenly, there’s a whirring noise in the air and you look up to see a drone camera spying on you!

It sounds like a strange combination of one’s most embarrassing nightmares and a sci-fi movie about technology gone mad. But that’s what’s waiting for people living near the Lower Manair Dam in Telangana’s Karimnagar district, who choose to defecate in the open.

In its enthusiasm to stop people defecating around the dam, the Karimnagar police have hit upon a hi-tech method to publicly name and shame them. So, since Sunday, drones monitored from the police control room have been swooping around the area, clicking pictures of anyone daring to do the dirty deed.

Karimnagar Police Commissioner VB Kamalasan Reddy and MP B Vinod Kumar

According to the Karimnagar police, the campaign has become necessary because the dam supplies drinking water to four districts, and people defecating on the bund and slopes pollutes the water. "By using the drone, we intend to prevent them from defecating near the dam which supplies drinking water,” says Karimnagar Commissioner VB Kamalasan Reddy. 

“The dam provides drinking water. How can we allow to pollute it? We only want to deter them,” he adds.

To implement the second part of the name and shame campaign, the police have tied up with the local Lake Walkers' Association. So visuals of people captured by the drone   caught in the act are identified and then publicly garlanded by the Association or the police. "This is only for preventing them. We will garland them, so that they don't repeat the act,” says the Commissioner. 

This isn't the first time that officials in the country have turned to drone technology to shame people out of open defecation. Haryana's Yamunanagar hit upon the idea last year, but had to get rid of it after strong opposition from local residents. 

With the campaign to declare panchayats, districts and states open defecation-free turning into a massive race among officials, many local administrations have shown a troubling enthusiasm for name and shame campaigns, taking actions like confiscating the lungis of defecators till they take a pledge against open defecation. 

In the most tragic case from Rajasthan, officials allegedly beat a man to death after he objected to them taking pictures of women defecating. 
Many activists have argued that name and shame campaigns are unfair to people when toilet coverage in the country is still not sufficient, and that awareness-building, not humiliation, is the way to stop open defecation. 

 

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