Laugh or Cry: Delhi Police, Security and CC TVs

CCTVs lie defunct in Delhi’s hot spots

By Bhuvan Bagga in New Delhi

THE CAPITAL is in a heightened state of terror alert after the Jaipur blasts, but some of the most sensitive locations in the city have become even more vulnerable. Reason: the surveillance cameras installed only afew months ago at the cost of about Rs 3crore are defunct and the control rooms abandoned.

The cameras which the Delhi Police had installed in places near the Rashtrapati Bhavan and in crowded locations such as Lajpat Nagar and Sarojini Nagar market are unlikely to become operational soon.

This is because SCORE Information and Technologies, the Gurgaon- based company that was awarded the contract to install and maintain the security cameras has withdrawn its engineers from the project after a row with the Delhi Police. According to the police, an internal audit found the CCTVs “to be short on quality”.

The men- in- uniform blamed the company for providing substandard services. Upset over this, the SCORE officials have decided to move the Delhi High Court against the allegations. The company had installed 82 CCTV cameras at Rashtrapati Bhavan, 30 at Lajpat Nagar and another 25 at Sarojini Nagar market. “But after the company completed its work our internal audit found them short on many of the quality and supply parameters.

There were problems in the cameras. So it was suggested that this company be blacklisted and its payments be withheld for now,” said Prem Nath, DCP of the provisions and logistics branch, which procures and implements such projects for the city police. According to Nath, there were issues other than quality control. “There was acontroversy over who would pay the land cutting charges to the civic body for causing wear and tear to the roads while installing the equipment.

The company has now approached the high court against the blacklisting and other contract related issues,” he said. “We had about 30 cameras installed in Lajpat Nagar. But since last two weeks the CCTV control room has been locked and there is no one to man the cameras.

We already have had three cases of thefts in the marketplace which could have been detected by the CCTV cameras,” apolice officer of the Lajpat Nagar police station said. One of the SCORE engineers, who used to man the cameras, said on condition of anonymity,

Police say the devices were substandard

“About afortnight ago, we were told that there was no point visiting the control rooms, since the company wasn’t getting its dues from the police. Our engineers were asked not to visit the control rooms.” So, without the engineers and the technical knowhow, the officers on duty are unable to operate the cameras.

“None of our police officers know how to operate these cameras. Without the engineers, there is no way we can operate the software used in the CCTV control rooms,” a police officer of the Sarojini Nagar police station said.

Even as the police’s internal audit was pointing out SCORE’s shortcomings, the company reportedly won contracts for three new locations –Walled City area, Ashok Vohar and Rani Bagh. “The discussions on the company’s performance at the three locations were going on when tenders for new places were passed and the contract was awarded,” Nath confirmed. However, given the sensitivity and security involved, senior officials refused to go on record about the state of 82 CCTV cameras installed by the same company near the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

“For this, you will you will have to speak to the joint commissioner of police. Ican’t discuss any of these issues which concern the security of the Rashtrapati Bhavan,” said R. P. S Tyagi, DCP Rashtrapati Bhavan. Sources, however, confirmed that the situation was the same situation even at the “most sensitive and high- profile” addresses in the country.

But the dispute between the company and the Delhi Police has had a cascading effect on new projects. “Work has been stalled at these places (Walled City area, Ashok Vohar and Rani Bagh) for now. We are trying to find asolution to the problem for the time being before the final decision is taken by the court.

But these cameras installed at the three spots continue to be non- operational for now,” DCP Nath confirmed. The IT company officials could not be contacted.
bhuvan. bagga@ mailtoday. in

City gets Rs 200 crore for a smart traffic system

THE PLANNING Commission has sanctioned Rs 200 crore for an intelligent traffic system for the Capital ahead of the Commonwealth Games 2010. Officials said the budget that the commission sanctioned last week wW help in a slew of traffic measures, including intelligent video cameras at major traffic intersections.

Officials added that the Traffic Management Centre would have a video wall capturing images from cameras installed at strategic locations. The red light speed cameras, that monitor vehicles jumping red lights, wm also be there besides this. The picture would be complete with control panels and survenance systems for all CCTVs and supporting technology like the wireless sets.

“It is basically applying intelligent technology to monitor and control traffic situations. The cameras would capture images in real time which would be sent to the system for processing. With powerful zoom, the cameras would be able to detect stationary vehicles responsible for clogging a main road.

This helps us manage jams or respond to emergencies,” said an official at the Centre. Apart from this, Variable Message Signs would be installed to inform road users about the traffic situation. For this scheme, the Planning Commission has approved a plan outlay of Rs 200 crore to be spent over the plan period 2007-12. During the year 2008-09 Rs 32 crore have been earmarked for the project.

“We have invited Global Expression of Interest in this regard. We are in the process of finalising appointment of a consultant for the project who will guide us in examining the offers received in response to our inviting Global Expression of Interest, prepare bid documents and help us in getting the project implemented,” said Rajan Bhagat, Spokesman of the Delhi Police.

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