CCTV cameras installed by the Delhi Police ahead of Barack Obama’s visit are set to be taken down despite the high court raising questions on why the cameras were installed for the US President and not for the citizens.
The cameras, rented by the police from private firms and security agencies, will be handed to their original owners. Police claim that the cameras, installed at key locations across the city, would not be able to handle the extreme weather conditions of the Capital.
“These cameras were installed on hire basis and since they cannot sustain the 24x7 weather conditions, they will be removed,” said Delhi police commissioner BS Bassi.
While police claimed to have installed nearly 15,000 CCTV cameras as part of security measures for Obama’s Republic Day visit, high-ranking officers, including Bassi, said the number was much less.
“The total number of CCTV cameras installed in the city just prior to the Republic Day was in hundreds,” Bassi said. Seconding him, sources in the police department said merely 800 cameras were installed for the US President’s high-profile visit.
The Delhi Police had started the installation of 5,000 CCTVs cameras across the city ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Phase one of the project was to be completed before the Games kicked-off but the deadline was missed due to technical and departmental glitches.
Police commissioner Bassi had earlier claimed that of the 5,000 cameras that were to be installed, 3,932 had been put up at 85 locations across the Capital, including border check-posts and courts.
The visit by Obama as the first American president to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade saw the Capital turn into a fortress with the deployment of extra police and paramilitary personnel and restriction on movement of traffic in the New Delhi area.
The area around ITC Maurya, where Obama, his wife Michelle and the American delegation stayed during the high-profile trip, was completely cordoned off.