As per a recent amendment of the state government, an elected MLA can now spend his fund on installation of CCTV cameras in the areas under his jurisdiction.
The amendment was made after BJP MLA from Surat East Arvind Rana agreed to Surat police commissioner’s request of allocation of funds from Rana’s fund for the CCTV cameras and wrote to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani regarding the same.
A few months ago, Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma had asked Rana to allocate some funds from his early grant of Rs 1.5 crore for the CCTV cameras. To this, Rana had said he can give Rs 50 lakh. However, Rana was told by the Surat Municipal Corporation city engineer that there is no provision for an MLA to give his grant for installing CCTV cameras.
Rana then approached Rupani, seeking an amendment in the norms regarding use of MLA funds. The state government has approved the amendment with certain restrictions — the cameras should be installed on roads, entry and exit gates of residential societies, row houses, on main road junctions and public places.
Move aimed at curbing crime, stepping up vigil
Through a resolution dated December 4, the state government has amended the norms for use of MLA grants and allowed the MLAs in urban areas to spend their area development funds for installation of CCTV cameras and set up a CCTV network. This has been done for “crime control and detection”, to track anti-social elements and enhance the security of the citizens, with the help of police. With the amendment, the definition of public welfare has been expanded. The state government had, earlier this year, also raised the area development fund by Rs 50 lakh per MLA.
Police control rooms or nearby police stations will monitor the CCTV cameras.
“My request for using the grant for CCTV network has been accepted by the state government. I will spend Rs 50 lakh on the installation of cameras. Other Surat MLAs have shown a similar eagerness,” Rana said.
There are 12 elected MLA’s in Surat city whose areas fall under the jurisdiction of Surat city police commissioner.
Currently, there are over 614 CCTV cameras in Surat, which were installed by the Surat police. A command and control centre has been set up to monitor the cameras.
Meanwhile, BJP councillor from Ward number 25 Amit Singh Rajput on Monday, during a coordination committee meeting of the SMC in Limbayat zone, suggested that municipal corporators also contribute towards installation of CCTV cameras from their grants.
“We will discuss Rajput’s proposal with the administrative department. Each municipal councillor gets Rs 10 lakh as grant from the municipal corporation for infrastructural works like road, water, electricity, gutter problems, etc. There is no provision for using grant for the CCTV network. We will discuss if we can make changes in the norms regarding use of grants,” Surat Mayor in-charge Nirav Shah said.