The ambitious project of installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at busy traffic junctions and strategic locations of Panchkula is yet to see the light of day.
Though the local authorities intend to install around 120 cameras, the project is hanging fire for the past several years. Of total, around 50 are to be installed at entry and exit points of the city. Police have identified 16 spots as escape routes used by the criminals.
Though the municipal corporation (MC) has prepared an estimate of Rs 1.57 crore for the project, the file has been shuttling between the civic body and the urban local bodies department, with remarks by one official or the other. The urban local bodies department has also raised certain objections on the estimate prepared for the project.
Panchkula MC commissioner SP Arora was not available for comments, while urban local bodies director Pankaj Aggarwal said due to some minor technical issues, the project could not be initiated but they would be resolved soon.
Due to non-availability of CCTV cameras, police in many cases have struggled for clues in the past. One such example is the recent robbery case, in which a 63-year-old man was robbed of Rs 9.80 lakh at gunpoint.
A police officer, requesting anonymity, said that non-availability of CCTV cameras had emerged as hindrance in prevention and detection of the crime.
The local authorities have been drawing flaks from the residents for unwarranted delay in the installation of CCTV cameras in the city and they have also been accused for negligence over the increasing crime rate in the last few years.
According to the police record, a total of 39 cases of vehicle theft; seven sexual harassment; 14 snatching; 8 kidnapping; 25 abduction; seven robberies; and 63 theft cases had been registered in the city from January 1 to March 31.
The Lok Saravhitkari Society has been at the loggerhead with the local authorities over delay in installation of these cameras. Society chief Rakesh Aggarwal said: “The delay makes it evident that the local authorities are not concerned about the safety of the city residents.”
Recently, local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member of legislative assembly (MLA) Gian Chand Gupta had also announced a budget of Rs 10 lakh out of chief minister special fund for the installation of CCTV cameras in different markets.
Hamid Akhtar, deputy commissioner of police (DCP), Panchkula, said they had taken up the matter with the concerned officials.
NO REAL-TIME MONITORING
The local police have not set up a control room for the real-time monitoring of handful of cameras — as announced last year —installed at some escape routes. According to sources, at present, the CCTV footages are scanned after manually retrieving the memory cards of the cameras.