Even seven months after the 13/7 blasts, the Mumbai police are yet to identify its perpetrators due to poor camera cover in the city. With the blasts serving as a wake up call, the Mumbai police have set upon an ambitious project of integrating all closed circuit television (CCTV) camera networks in the city to bring them under one command.
The project, which has already received the consent of the state government, consists of connecting the CCTV networks of the traffic police, railways, state transport, BEST and private networks to the Mumbai police’s network.
When a team consisting of home minister RR Patil and senior police officials visited London in September, the idea of integrating CCTV network cropped up.
Cyber expert Vijay Mukhi, a member of the committee overseeing the project, said the police felt the need to create a system where they had access to private CCTVs in the city. “Terror-sensitive locations need to have a police-monitored system. It is a complex project but we have the expertise to plan it,” he said.
The state has approved around 5,000 CCTVs, which will be installed at various locations. The Home Ministry has decided the Mumbai police would monitor the project. The budget for this project is estimated to be around Rs600 crore. Ministry officials said this expenditure would be made over a period of five years.
Minister of state (home) Satej Patil said, “We expect to issue a tender for the project by February. Under the first phase of the project, the Mumbai police will install its CCTVs around the city. Under the second phase, they will integrate the CCTVs of the traffic police, railways, other state agencies and private networks. We are likely to have five control rooms in Mumbai,” he said. “We will later link the control rooms in Pune and Nagpur to those in Mumbai.”
However, some officials have their reservations on the project. Former IPS officer YP Singh said, “Bringing all agencies under one umbrella could lead to ego clashes and inefficiency.”
He added that such an arrangement would not work unless a national authority is set up to govern networks across India.