Helicopters with gun-toting commandos and sophisticated surveillance gadgets will soon keep vigil over seven major cities in the country under a Home Ministry project aimed at checking crime.
Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad will get helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles fitted with high-powered cameras, sensors and other surveillance equipment under the Home Ministry's Safe City Project.
The ministry has said in its latest guidelines that it is essential to have surveillance from air with regard to law and order and other crime-related activities in the cities.
"The air surveillance can be obtained by positioning various equipment i.e. balloons, UAVs, helicopters etc. which should have gadgets like cameras, sensors etc. to cater to specialised requirements on the occasion," the guidelines said.
The data (video, audio, text) collected from these devices should be fed to the Command Control Centre for necessary action for both preventive and post-incident operations.
These elements can also act as a deterrent for criminal elements.
The Home Ministry said the cities should be covered with a network of CCTVs. The network must cover vital public places and critical infrastructure.
It could also cover public places like airports, railway stations, metro stations, bus stations, public hospitals, universities, schools and colleges, major crossings and roundabout on the roads and important government buildings.
"Special care may be taken to cover areas which are more densely populated or prone to crimes. The CCTV network should be based on wireless system to the extent possible, except in certain places which are important from national security point of view, wherein it may be advisable to share data openly," the Home Ministry guidelines said.
They said apart from installation of CCTV by government agencies, it is equally important that private sector is also encouraged to play an important role in surveillance.
The ministry suggested that private sector industries and business houses may be exhorted to install similar and compatible CCTV network from where data generated could be transmitted to the central command and control room.
The Safe City Project or Mega City Project was introduced by the government under the Modernisation of Police Forces Scheme in 2005-06.
The latest guidelines have been framed with a view to equip police in the mega cities so as to enable them meet to challenges of the modern time.
The Home Ministry said technical upgrading is a key factor in enhancing the efficiency of police.
At the same time, the importance of the human factor, i.e. the man power manning the police system should not be underplayed and it also needs to be upgraded in terms of its capacity by imparting relevant and regular training.
The idea is to have the best combination of man and machine, which can deliver results in the present context of multifaceted challenges faced by the police.
"The final outcome of these guidelines is to ensure proper implementation of the project in the major cities of Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Ahmedabad. As a result of this, police will find itself well-equipped for preventing crime and will be better able to respond to and detect crime," the ministry said.