Around 40 pc CCTV cameras installed in city are defective

LightpointAt a lightpoint near the Municipal Corporation Building in Sector 17, Chandigarh, on Friday
Nearly 40 per cent of the total CCTV cameras installed in the city are defective. While the majority of them have not been functioning for the past three months, there are a few which have not been in operation for the past three years and some of them have not been working ever since they were installed (see box).

Sample this: Of the total 216 CCTV cameras installed so far, 78 are "defective" while only 126 are functioning. As many as 12 defective cameras stand removed. What's more surprising is that till around a fortnight back, nearly 60 per cent of the cameras in the city were not functioning. Of the total 216, only 99 were working and 117 were lying defective till second week of August. Thanks to the snub by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a few cameras have now been repaired.

Inspector General of Police R P Upadhyaya had shot off a letter on July 30 to the Advisor, Finance Secretary and Chief Engineer asking them to resolve the dispute between the Engineering Department and the multi-national company, Schneider Electric India Private Limited. It is this company which had installed a majority of the cameras in the city beautiful. A dispute had arisen between the company and electrical division due to "some payment dispute", reads the letter written by Upadhyaya.

Highlighting the "adverse impact" of the defective cameras on the "crime and traffic violation", Upadhyaya had requested the UT Advisor's intervention. "This is vital in public interest because crime and traffic violations detection, investigation and prosecution is a very sensitive and important matter," the IG said in his letter.

On August 2, the High Court had issued a show-cause contempt notice against the Chandigarh Police for not complying with court directions on implementation of traffic guidelines. Also, the court asked police to explain how many CCTV cameras were functioning and "as to why the entire city has not been covered with CCTV cameras despite the expiry of almost three years after initial installation of a few cameras".

After the notice, the IG wrote a letter to the UT Home Secretary on August 13 to take a decision "at the earliest".

It was only after repeated letters written to the administration that a meeting was arranged between the two warring parties (Engineering Department and the company) that the dispute was partially resolved. After the meeting, which was co-ordinated by the Chandigarh Police, the company immediately repaired 39 cameras and "formally" handed over their control to the Chandigarh Police.

The cameras include those installed on the city's border, market areas and traffic light points. Broadly, two types of cameras are installed in the city. First, pan tilt zoom (PTZ) and second, fixed position (FIX). As many as 100 cameras, including PTZ and FIX, are installed on various lightpoints. Of these, 36 are defective while 64 are working.

Of the 38 cameras installed at Sector 17 and 22 markets, 18 are defective. Of the 14 cameras installed in the market area of Sector 35, eight are non-functional. And of the 64 cameras installed at outer barriers of the city, 16 are not working while 12 defective cameras have been removed.

This entire information has been furnished by the Chandigarh Police to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. In response to the court order, a detailed affidavit was filed by Maneesh Chaudhry, Superintendent of Police (Traffic and Security) earlier this week.

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