Chandigarh stalking: Half the CCTV cameras on traffic signals weren’t working that night
The Friday night stalking incident has made UT administration sit up and take notice of non-functional CCTV cameras. It has promised to make all 93 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed at various traffic junctions functional by August 11.
The administration is blaming the Mumbai-based company Schneider Electric India Private Limited, which was allotted the contract to maintain the cameras in 2009 for 10 years at a cost of Rs 4.44 crore. Every year, the administration pays Rs 19 lakh to the company for its maintenance, but as per the record only 50% of its cameras are functional.
On Friday night, when Vikas Barala, son of Haryana BJP chief Subhash Barala, allegedly stalked the daughter of a senior IAS officer, only 50 CCTV cameras were functioning out of a total 93 in the city.
Speaking to HT on Wednesday, Ranjit Singh, superintendent engineer, electrical wing, said, “We have issued company several notices and even imposed a fine of Rs 44 lakh in 2012, but now they have promised to make all CCTV cameras functional. On Tuesday, they repaired some cameras and now we have around 74 cameras functional.”
Another senior officer of electrical wing said, “Owing to a problem in the software, the recording facility in the CCTV cameras is not functioning. The process of upgrading technology to fix the issue of non-availability of recording facility is underway, which will take at least three months.”
2 years on, intelligent traffic solution yet to see light
The UT administration in 2015 conceptualised the project of ‘intelligent traffic solutions’ for the city. Under this, the city was to be covered with more than 600 CCTV cameras. But even after two years nothing has been done on the project. A senior officer of UT administration said that they plan to come up with smart CCTV cameras which would not only help in keeping vigil, but also help in nabbing criminals and traffic violators. We are hopeful of doing it soon, he said.
Under the project, hi-tech CCTV cameras with night vision capacity and ability to capture vehicle number plates were to be installed in the city. The cameras will also be equipped with technology such as face recognition and face matching.
Chinks in Nighebaan project
Under the Nighebaan project, Chandigarh police have installed 14,000 CCTV cameras covering the city markets and residential areas of city. However, there is no provision of monitoring these cameras that are installed with public participation.
At present the police retrieves the footage of these cameras only after a crime is reported. These cameras are not used for prevention of crime as there is no mechanism to monitor these. Apart from lack of monitoring the other issue faced is the cameras installed are of not of very high resolution, lack in night vision and have a limited memory.