A day after the Vadodara administration decided to divide the city into four zones — Red, Orange, Yellow and Green — as part of a strategy to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the city police has installed a hydrogen balloon attached with two cameras, a public address system and lights in order to keep 24 hours surveillance over the red zone areas which have been placed under containment due to their proximity to positive Covid-19 cases.
The department installed the first hydrogen balloon in the Tandalja area of Vadodara, which has 19 entry and exit points that have been sealed since late Wednesday night after the area was declared a red zone. While the Central Command and Control Center in the city has been declared a “war room” to keep strict vigil on those violating the lockdown norms, the need for the hydrogen balloon in the area was felt in order to keep a hawk eye on the neighborhood of about 7,000 people.
Sandeep Chaudhary, DCP Zone 2, told this newspaper, “Each camera of the two attached to the balloon covers a radius of about 200 meters. We have a view of almost the entire area of Tandalja that is in containment. We are also working on installing more of such hydrogen balloons across the city for surveillance to crack down on violations.”
The balloon also has a public address system attached to it. Commissioner of Police Anupam Singh Gahlaut said that the technology allows officials to monitor the area from any part of the city through a handheld device. “We have our regular CCTVs that are monitored from the Command Center but the camera attached to the balloon can be monitored from our mobile phones from anywhere. That is the advantage. Plus even the public address system can be fed with important announcements and messages from anywhere through the system.”
Additionally, the police has also asked local masjids in the red zone areas – minority-dominated Nagarwada and Tandalja – to make announcements through their loudspeakers. Chaudhary said, “We have got the clerics of the Masjids to play a proactive role in encouraging the residents to stay indoors and follow the lockdown in the containment areas. It helps when they make the announcement to their community. We have given them a few awareness messages for broadcast through Masjid loudspeakers.”
Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Vinod Rao had on Friday evening declared the four zones – red, orange, yellow and green – in the city based on the health assessment and proximity to areas where maximum cases have been reported without any apparent travel history. The red zones include the already announced areas of Nagarwada and Tandalja, where containment is in place and door-to-door screening is also complete.
Nagarwada has already seen 67 positive cases since April 5 while results of mass sampling from Tandalja are expected this evening.