CCTV cameras installed at a cost of lakhs of rupees on city roads are not equipped with recording facility to keep a backup of the traffic movement footage that they capture. The Chandigarh Traffic Police manage at least 100 such cameras installed on major intersections across the city. Of these, 45 cameras are totally non-functional.
The circumstances in which Hallomajra resident Rajni died after falling out of a moving autorickshaw Monday night could have been known by now if the CCTVs had the technology to keep a backup of the traffic movement. Rajni’s family members suspect that it was not a case of road accident, but that either somebody pushed her off the auto or she may have jumped to save herself from being harassed. They are demanding a thorough probe.
Rajni boarded the autorickshaw in Sector 45 and had to alight at Hallomajra lightpoint. Her body was found on the road between Sector 29 roundabout and Poultry farm roundabout. There are at least three CCTV cameras on the possible stretch of her five-six-km journey.
The Chandigarh Police failed to get any leads from the CCTVs installed on the stretch of road on which Rajni travelled in the auto rickshaw Monday night.
In another case registered in December last year, two men had allegedly gangraped a woman, one of whom was an auto rickshaw driver. In that case also, Chandigarh Police had failed to get any assistance from the CCTVs installed at intersections. However, police managed to arrest one accused on the basis of their intelligence inputs.
At present, there are 100 cameras installed at various intersections across the city. Traffic police control room in Sector 29 monitor these cameras. Out of these, 45 cameras are non-functional and 55 that are functioning have no capacity to store the recording of traffic movement on the roads. The traffic police can barely see a “live-telecast” of the moving traffic through these CCTV cameras.
DSP (Traffic) Yashpal Vinayak said, “Due to some pending payments to the engineering department of UT administration, some of the cameras were non-functional. Now, all the dues have been cleared. Very soon, all the remaining cameras that are non-functional shall also be in order.”
Regarding the non-availability of a recording facility in CCTV cameras, DSP Vinayak said, “We are in the process of upgrading technology of these cameras with the assistance of UT engineering wing. Soon, this facility shall be introduced”.
Ranjit Singh, superintending engineer (Electricals), UT, said, “There was some problem with the software. That’s why the recording facility in the CCTV cameras is not functional. We are in the process of introducing it soon. It is a top priority.”
Inspector Jaswinder Kaur, who is supervising the investigation, said, “Rajni’s family had also informed us of two men claiming to be eyewitnesses of the incident, but both denied having seen anything. Further investigations are on.”