The long-forgotten dream of the city police — to make Amdavad a safer city with better surveillance — may finally see daylight. The department plans to revive its pending project of installing CCTV cameras at major junctions in the city, albeit on a smaller scale. And for this, it plans to utilise a part of the money set aside for the Suraksha Setu project aimed at modernisation of the police department.
In the light of increasing incidents of loots and firings besides other crimes, the cops believe that CCTV surveillance across the city may help enhance safety of citizens and nab criminals roaming in the city. Such surveillance is also expected to help them identify and capture the criminals, who have remained unidentified till date.
Taking the first step towards implementation of the project, the city police have made a detailed proposal to install at least 100 CCTV cameras at major junctions in the city. According to JK Bhatt, additional commissioner of police (AdCP), sector-1, these cameras will be installed at a cost of Rs 1 crore. “Recently, the city police had received around Rs4 crore from the government under the Suraksha Setu project for modernisation projects. We have made a proposal to spend Rs 1 crore of this amount for the initial phase of the project,” said Bhatt.
Once the proposal is finalised and approved by the state government, city police will identify major points and strategic junctions in the city where these cameras can installed.
Instead of connecting these cameras to the main control room monitors, city police have come up with a different plan, where each police station will be given live feed of the cameras. “We will connect these cameras to the nearby police chowky working under police stations, where on-duty cops will constantly monitor live feeds. We will ensure that night shift cops too keep an eye on the feed,” said Bhatt.
The police officials are also approaching shopkeepers and owners of commercial establishments. “We have identified many areas, such as Sola, where thefts are rampant. We have instructed all the police inspectors to meet these shopkeepers and convince them to install CCTV cameras outside their premises. We have also asked them to install high quality cameras with night vision to easily identify criminals,” said Bhatt.
Conceived in mid 2011 by then commissioner of police, Sudhir Sinha, the CCTV project has since remained an unfulfilled dream. The plan was to have more than 300 cameras across all the major junctions. Sinha had even roped in a public sector enterprise to do the trial run for the mega project.
Since the budget for the project was very high, efforts were made to engage in public-private partnership. However, the project apparently went off track as the PSU involved back-tracked and showed no interest in conducting even the trial run of the project. Since then, the project was considered shelved.
July 2011: Following the terror attacks in Mumbai, Ahmedabad police decide to install 300 CCTV cameras at over 100 important locations across the city. However, the project, initiated by CP Sudhir Sinha goes off track after the PSU, which was supposed to install and maintain these cameras, backtracks.
August 2011: A committee of four IPS officers gives feasibility report about the project to be implemented in Ahmedabad as well other major cities.
August 2012: The feasibility report containing technical aspects is approved for Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat. It was expected that the government would invite Expression of Interest from private players for the project.
November 2013: Decision is taken by current city police commissioner to revive the project, albeit on a smaller scale