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CCTVs still way down on Delhi security list

On the eve of the third anniversary of the Batla House encounter in which a terrorist and a police officer were killed, Delhi is on a high alert. But electronic surveillance has little to do with it.

delhi Updated: Sep 19, 2011 01:06 IST

On the eve of the third anniversary of the Batla House encounter in which a terrorist and a police officer were killed, Delhi is on a high alert. But electronic surveillance has little to do with it.

What passes for electronic surveillance in Delhi is a loosely knit network of 5,000 to 7,000 closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs), a quarter of which, according to locals, don't work.

What is worse is that the feeds from the CCTVs, which are to be routed to the local police stations and monitored - neither reach the designated place, nor are monitored.

"Under Phase 1 of the Delhi Police surveillance action plan made in 2005, 34 markets and 10 border areas are under electronic surveillance," said a senior police officer.

"But it is needed in many other commercial establishments, especially malls. We have asked their owners to install CCTVs, metal detectors and body scanners."

The blast outside the Delhi high court on September 7 has acted as a wake-up call for the police.

Delhi Police commissioner BK Gupta said he has written to the Union home ministry to fast-track the installation of around 400 CCTV cameras at the courts.

Phase 2 of the surveillance action plan -- which includes the setting up of cameras at 23 market areas and 17 border check-posts, including outside the Jama Masjid -- has met a roadblock.

The plan, formulated in 2008 after the serial blasts in the Capital, had a 2010 deadline for implementation. But as far as the Jama Masjid is concerned, implementation began in June 2011.

In the meanwhile, an armed attack took place outside the mosque on two members of a visiting Taiwanese film crew in September 2010.