The home department has issued instructions to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to route all approval requests for road repairs, which may disrupt the city’s surveillance system, through the system’s contractors. Sources said the directive, issued after a meeting held last week, came in the wake of reports of severe disruptions to the city’s CCTV and WiFi network during road repairs.
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Larsen and Toubro (L&T) had bagged the Rs 959-crore contract to secure Mumbai with a CCTV network. The Rs 194-crore WiFi network, launched in January this year, uses the infrastructure created for the CCTV surveillance project. Hence, damages to the optic fibre cables, which are critical to both systems, affect both the networks, officials said.
With the directive, L&T can now keep a close eye on road construction work, as they will have the data of who is working where, sources said. “Permissions will be shared with L&T before the work begins. We want to avoid working on an optic fibre cable after the trench has been filled,” said a senior government official.
Earlier this month, The Indian Express reported that the state had conducted a survey to identify the number of glitches in its surveillance system due to road digging work. Data revealed that more than 300 CCTV cameras developed defects due to various road repair works. The study further indicated that the BMC was responsible for nearly half the damages done to laid out fibre optical cables, having impaired about 129 cameras, mainly in the western suburbs. The only other culprit for these damages appears to be unknown, according to the study.
Government officials have pointed out that the hardest part of repairing these cables is not the cost but to “locate the cut that needs to be repaired”.
Questions had been raised regarding the lack of a concrete SOP in terms of the responsibility for the disruptions and the repairs, officials said. IT department officials have said about 50 teams are deployed on the ground to sort out issues at the WiFi hotspots. “However, man power is an important issue that needs to be addressed,” said an official.