THREE MONTHS after the Varnika Kundu stalking case shook Chandigarh, the transport department has proposed that women drivers may install cameras on their dashboards, which will help capture the entire front view from their vehicle.
Director, State Transport Authority, Amit Talwar maintains dash cameras “are really helpful because they provide evidence” for the driver in various circumstances.
He said that an advisory would be issued for general awareness in this regard. An official of the engineering wing present in the meeting of the Road Safety Council where the discussion took place, said, “In fact, the members did find such dash cams useful but they were of the view that these cannot be made mandatory for everybody but an advisory can be issued and people, especially women, should be encouraged to install such cameras. After the IAS officer’s daughter case, these cameras can be helpful in providing evidence to the police in such cases. It will capture the front view of the complete journey.”
The matter came up for discussion when the STA proposed that dash cameras be installed in CTU buses, and participants agreed that these devices would not only help in providing evidence in case the CTU bus is involved in an accident, but would also record the reckless driving and any other unpleasant situation. “The videotapes can be provided to the court,” said another officer.
Lt Col Jagwant Singh Bath (retired), a member of the Road Safety Council who was present in the meeting said, “In fact, such cameras are very much being used in Russia because the traffic conditions there are as worse as ours. The primary advantage of these cameras goes to the drivers as they can prove themselves with the help of recording. If [Varnika Kundu]’s car had this dash camera, the videotapes would have immediately shown what the men did.”
Though most of Varnika’s ordeal consisted of the men chasing her car in their vehicle, Bath asserted that the mere presence of a camera would also act as a deterrent to such criminal conduct. He added that members decided not to make it mandatory but create more and more awareness by traffic police to install these.
Talwar said that talks are on as to how CTU will go about the installation of the dash cams. The transport department gets plaints repeatedly about drivers driving recklessly on the one hand, or from the driver, on the other hand, alleging they are being framed. Secretary (Transport) KK Jindal said in cases of accidents involving CTU bus drivers, it will provide an instant evidence of whether the driver was at fault or it was the other person’s fault.
The officials of engineering wing said there are certain maintenance issues and CTU was asked to hold a trial run in one set of buses first and install in all of them later.