BEST firms up deal for CCTVs in buses

After terror attacks on the city's public transport system over the years—buses in the past and trains more recently, the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking (BEST) has entered into a barter deal to install closed-circuit television cameras (CCTVs) inside its 3,400 buses as part of a major security measure.

According to BEST General Manager Uttam Khobragade, this surveillance system—three CCTVs in each bus—will capture every movement of the passengers. "The surveillance system will help as a psychological deterrent for anti-social elements. Being a very high-end system, with lots of wiring, it will take around six to eight months for all buses to have the CCTVs," said Khobragade.

"M/s Amnet has got the contract for 10 years. In lieu of the CCTVs, the company has got the rights to advertise in BEST buses by putting up 2 LCD screens, which will also air information about BEST buses and some recorded songs. Therefore it's a win-win situation for the Undertaking as we will get the much needed security measure in place without investing a single rupee," said Khobragade.

Starting this month-end, the CCTVs will be placed in three different corners of the bus, while the two LCD screens will be installed behind the driver's seat.

According to BEST's Assistant General Manager (traffic operations) V Y Amdekar, the security system has a black box—also found on aircraft—which will record all movements throughout the day.

"The black box has a storage capacity of two days. Thereafter, the footage will be automatically deleted. If needed, we can download a particular recording and keep it for our record," added Amdekar.

Amdekar says the new system will help the police crack cases. "In case of a blast, we will have footage till the explosion, which eventually will help in nailing the culprits."

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