With electronic eye wide shut | delhi | Hindustan Times
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With electronic eye wide shut

delhi Updated: Sep 12, 2011 01:20 IST
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Electronic surveillance is an 'absolute necessity' to secure an expanding metropolis prone to unconventional terror warfare. But sadly, it remains its most neglected aspect.

Tenders for the installation of CCTVs at Delhi High Court have been floated five times since the last blast on May 25. Mired in bureaucratic red-tape, the project, however, is struggling to see the light of day due to turf wars between multiple implementing agencies. Blast from the past

Delhi requires between 5,000-7,000 cameras to keep an eye on its population of 1.67 crore.

"Four days after the blast, thanks to the land-owning agency's obstinacy, we're still struggling to make a head or tail of the case. After the 7/7 London bombings, electronic surveillance ensured the guilty were more or less identified through citywide raids within five days," said a senior police officer.

Six years after the 7/7 bombings, Britain has, as per independent surveys, installed 4.2 million CCTVs across the island. This means that an average Londoner makes at least 300 appearances on cameras daily.

But it is after three years of the September 13 Delhi bombings that the Delhi Police have woken up to the need for CCTVs. The force had been asked to implement a mega city plan after two serial blasts had ripped across the Capital. The target was to have 58 markets and 27 border check-posts under CCTVs by March 31, 2010. Reality check

But according to police commissioner BK Gupta, only 34 markets and 10 border areas are currently under surveillance. "Of these, our C4i network is connected to only 25 markets, two border check points and Delhi Traffic Police's W-point at ITO," he said.

Video feeds from nine markets and eight border areas are yet to be in sync with the 'state-of-the-art' C4i Centre — that occupies four floors of the Delhi Police Headquarters at IP Estate and is equipped with LED-based technology with more than 100 TV screens.

The senior police officer blamed the delay on the prolonged tendering process, time taken in getting approval and funds from home ministry and inconsistencies of the PPP model adopted for installation and maintenance of CCTVs.Practical suggestions

Meanwhile, the force has written to the ministry, asking it to fast-track CCTV installation across the Capital's courts. It will also issue advertisements for more than 400 CCTVs, which will be installed at the earliest. But as per sources, 23 markets and 17 border check posts will have to wait for their share of cameras till at least March next year.

with inputs from Dipankar De Sarkar from London