In south Delhi’s bustling Sarojini Nagar market, police have ‘no eyes’
According to the officials of the company that installed and maintians the CCTV cameras and PA system in Sarojini Nagar, the cabling infrastructure was damaged during the construction work of the Sarojini Nagar Metro Station on the Pink Line, just outside the market.
The police surveillance cameras and the public announcement (PA) system intended to ensure security in Sarojini Nagar, one of the city’s busiest markets, have not been functional for the last three years, according to the Delhi Police.
The market, in which 50 people died in a 2005 bomb blast, has 25 closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras.
In a series of letters, seen by HT, addressed to the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) South West and Score Information Technology Ltd, the Gurugram-based company that installed and maintains the cameras and PA system, the Station House Officer (SHO) of Sarojini Nagar Police Station requested for immediate restoration of the facility.
According to the company officials, the cabling infrastructure was damaged during the construction work of the Sarojini Nagar Metro Station on the Pink Line, just outside the market. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), however, said it has no knowledge of such cabling infrastructure.
While there are 25 other cameras installed by local shopkeepers, these are not linked to the police control room.
“Whenever there is any mishap, any incident of mobile or purse theft, the police come to us and seek the footage from CCTVs installed by shopkeepers,” said Ashok Randhawa, president of Mini Market Trader Association, Sarojini Nagar. “The police does not have any direct monitoring or surveillance mechanism.”
However, this dependence on the market welfare association is not always reliable as many do not store footage for longer than 24 hours.
Rajinder Yadav, contracts manager for Score Information Technology Ltd: “The CCTV system installed at Sarojini Nagar is currently dysfunctional due to physical damage to the cabling infrastructure done by the third party (Delhi Metro Rail Corporation [DMRC])."
He said that the company has submitted a “quotation for replacement of physically damaged cabling infrastructure” to the Delhi Police.
The DCP (South West) was unavailable for the comment. However, a police officer on condition of anonymity said, “The company wants around ₹30 lakh to repair the damaged cables, even as maintenance of the camera is their responsibility. The matter is stuck over the payment issue.”
The DMRC said they are unaware of any damage during the metro construction. It said that neither the police nor the contractor took permission to lay the underground cables on DMRC land for the last six years in the area.
“Earlier during the construction period, the CCTV camera cable of Delhi Police at Sarojini Nagar, which were running overhead, were repaired by the DMRC whenever any complaint was received. However, no such complaint has been received by DMRC since last 2.5-3 years during the construction of the station,” he said. “Further, only last month a letter conveying the issue has been received from Delhi Police wherein it was mentioned that a new cable network was purportedly laid by the CCTV contractor for Delhi Police around 1.5-2 years ago but it could not be tested as it was damaged by DMRC prior to testing and commissioning.”
In its response, the DMRC told the Delhi Police that the metro station area has been in its possession for the last six years. “And any such working permission for cable laying was neither sought by the Delhi Police/their contractor, nor was provided by DMRC to Delhi Police, specifically atleast during last 2-3 years. Accordingly, the existence of any new CCTV cable network is unknown to DMRC in this context,” said Dayal.