THOOTHUKUDI: A model village that boasts of several technological advancements. That’s how one may perceive Zamin Devarkulam in Kovilpatti. The village has CCTV cameras, a public announcement system, water supply through mobile phones and other modern facilities.
Panchayat president Kamala claims that till 2010, the village was notorious for criminal activities and no one would offer their daughters in marriage to youth in the village. But due to developments in the past three years, the youth are most sought-after, she says.
After the installation of CCTV cameras, people are now afraid of indulging in criminal activities and the village is peaceful, she says when asked about the purpose of the cameras.
Kamala also narrated an incident where the CCTV cameras were helpful in nabbing criminals. In 2013, a person had stolen goats in a mini-lorry and had gone through Zamin Devarkulam in the night. When the video grabs were checked, the number of the vehicle was traced and the goats were retrieved. Seven cameras, LED screen and related equipment in the village were all sponsored by youth who had settled in other parts of the country and across the globe.
Another important equipment in the village is the public announcement system. There are 15 speakers in various spots and through them important announcements regarding government schemes, arrival of officials and lost items are made. Devotional songs are also played and a recorded message of time is announced every hour. One of the villagers, Subburaj, says information regarding water supply or power cut would be announced and it would help plan domestic activities accordingly.
The brain behind these is none other than Kamala’s husband, Balakrishnan.
He narrated an event in which gold jewellery were retrieved with the help of the loudspeakers. On May 12, jewellery was looted from a house and after the burglary, though the identity of the thief was not known, announcements were made that the culprit has been identified with the help of CCTVs, urging the perpetrator to leave the jewels at the place from where it was stolen. As expected, the thief threw the jewellery back into the house on May 21. Following the incident, the person who had returned the jewels was thanked. The simple expression of gratitude would make the culprit regret and he would not commit such crimes in future, claims Balakrishnan.
Police also confirm that CCTV cameras and loudspeakers have reduced the crime rate significantly. Ponnarasu, Inspector of Nallatinpudhur police station, claims he took charge nine months back and so far he has not received any complaint from the village.
Another notable feature in the village is the water supply, which is controlled through mobile phones. There is a mobile phone attached to the motor, situated near a hill which is about 3 km away, and the mobile number is known only to Kamala and the motor operator. The motor is switched on when a call is made and switched off in the same manner. Another noticeable feature is the presence of 36 dustbins. All the dustbins are cleaned regularly and nearby residents are required to sign after the bins are emptied.
No wonder residents boast that though PM Modi introduced the Swachh Bharat mission this year, their village is already a model village in every aspect.