Following a series of blasts in the past, major markets like Karol Bagh, Paharganj and Sarojini Nagar have been brought under round-the-clock camera surveillance, but another prominent area, like the Connaught Place, that was rocked by an expolsion on Saturday, is yet to come under the lens.But are all cameras really useful? The Gaffar Market (Karol Bagh) is replete with static cameras and only a few PTZ (pan-tilt-zoom) dome cameras. “The speed dome camera on the main intersection at Arya Samaj road is missing,” points out a shopkeeper wishing to remain anonymous.
As was evident in case of the Greater Kailash-I M-block Market blast, the bomb was placed right below a CCTV camera. “The camera can capture images at an angle of 80 degrees and the bomb was placed at an angle of 25 degrees and closer to it,” said a senior police official.
So what works? Senior official at the Central Industrial Security Force that mans the Delhi airport and all Metro stations (they have caught thieves, hoax callers through CCTV camera feed) says: “For fool proof surveillance, both kinds of cameras are required as they are complementary to each other. Fixed cameras are installed at access points while PTZ cameras are needed by security personnel to keep a track of suspicious elements”.
Surinder Narang of Global Electronics that deals in security cameras says it would cost around Rs 8-10 lakh to cover a market like GK-I M block under total camera surveillance. “We would have to install about 40 cameras because the market has multiple access points,” he said.
“For a market like Greater Kailash M-Block or Connaught Place, a one time investment of around Rs 10 lakh is not an exorbitant amount. Businessman here can easily afford to pay. If bomb blasts happen, they lose business for days, “said Neha Kumar, a student from Defence Colony.
Atul Bhargava, president of New Delhi Traders’ Association, “Connaught Place is a huge area. We need to consider the number of cameras required, the wiring for cameras and more importantly, cost for so many cameras.” The NDTA on Monday took a decision to go ahead with a survey for installing CCTV cameras following the September 13 blast.
"What is most important is to keep monitoring the feed. A lot of times, the surveillance fails because of lack of proper monitoring," said a senior CISF official.
But are the CCTV cameras the only solution? Disagrees Sat Ram Dass, general secretary of Sarojini Nagar Shopkeepers’ Association, “Unauthorised hawkers in the area are most vulnerable targets. No cameras will detect if a person keeps a bomb below a hawker’s table.”
What can be done to prevent further incidents? First is increasing the number of cameras with a combination of both static and PTZ dome cameras.