Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan has admitted that the delay in installing 5,000 ultra-modern closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras across the city was inordinate, given the series of terror attacks in the past five years. Worse, he said he was not sure when the project, revived after the last week’s blasts, would get implemented.
The decision to install CCTV cameras was taken after the terror attack in November 2008. But red tape and callousness from people in power delayed the project.
Chavan told the media on Wednesday that he would expedite CCTV installation, but did not specific a deadline for the project. “The project consultants, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, have told us that they are ready to float tenders,” he said.
Chavan claimed ignorance when quizzed about the delay, saying he, too, wanted to know why the project was stalled. “The state high power committee (formed after the 26/11 attack) has powers to buy equipment and it does not need to seek the cabinet’s approval,” he clarified.
Meanwhile, the cyber security and communications sub-group of the Maharashtra State Security Council has recommended that the state install the CCTVs after four months, when the 4G network gets activated. This suggestion was placed in the meeting of the security council, which was convened by Chavan on Wednesday.
Talking to the media, Vijay Mukhi, who heads the sub-group said that the current 3G network is not equipped to transmit such a large amount of data. “If we have waited for two years, there is no harm in waiting for another four months,” said Mukhi. He said that Mumbai does not posses an extensive fibre-optic network and whatever is present is in the hands of the private players.
Pramoud Rao, managing director, Zicom - a major player that deals in CCTVs - told HT that there are several companies like his that are willing to provide cameras to the government for free.