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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Many glitches later, CCTV plan takes off

Sayli Udas Mankikar, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, February 02, 2013
First Published: 01:22 IST(2/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:49 IST(2/2/2013)

The much-awaited surveillance project, which promises to keep an eye on the city with a network of sophisticated cameras and enhance security, has finally taken off more than four years after it was announced.

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The Mumbai City Surveillance Project, announced in the wake of the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008, was last week awarded to Sai Infotech System Limited, a Gujarat-based firm.

The Rs. 699.5 crore project, which has seen several setbacks involves setting up 6,000 CCTV cameras across 1,500 important locations in Mumbai, apart from patrolling by 12 camera-fitted mobile vans and 1,000 police vans fitted with a modern Global Positioning System (GPS).

The purpose of the project is to make use of advanced technology to enhance security.

Footage collected using these sophisticated cameras will be relayed to data centres in real-time, and then transmitted to three command centres, some police stations, the police and traffic commissioners offices, the civic body, Mantralaya as well as laptops of senior officials and ministers.

There will be two backup centers to store archival data. A high-tech promise of better security

Command centres and all the units connected to the system will have high local area network (LAN) and special SMS facilities to communicate and instruct during emergencies. 

The project, which had been awarded to a consortium of companies, hit a major roadblock when it had to be retendered and last week’s development finally puts it back on track.

Though the proposed deadline for the completion is five years, it has been broken into phases. The first phase comprises setting up cameras in one of the identified regions, the deadline for which is seven months from when work begins.

“We know this has taken time, but what has been drawn up is comprehensive plan and every aspect of the project, right from technical specifications, financial considerations and legal provisions have been checked thoroughly. The system is not one that is fitted in malls but is much more sophisticated, with features such as a photo identification system and a criminal tracking software,” said additional chief secretary (Home), Dr Amitabh Rajan who was part of the committee that framed the project.

Though the project has great promise, timely implementation is a concern.

“We have set up deadlines for all phases and have kept a high accountability clause that allows us to fine a huge penalty,” Rajan added.

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