After nearly three years of delay, AAP’s promise of installing CCTV cameras across the city is finally seeing fruition. Public sector unit (PSU) Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has won the bid for the installation of 1.4 lakh cameras across the capital.
Officials said BEL had won the bid at Rs 272 crore and MLAs of each constituency would decide the locations where these cameras would be installed. An official said, “The cameras will be installed by PWD, which will be the nodal agency for carrying out the project, and work will begin immediately. The MLAs will consult local associations and different RWAs to figure out the exact locations and dark spots, where the cameras will be installed.”
After the outrage following the December 16, 2012, gangrape, AAP, which was then in its nascent stage, had promised a network of cameras in the city and this became a key electoral promise before 2015. But, the plan is yet to be completed, the tenders were issued in November. Several key issues — from who will monitor the footage to whether 2,000 cameras in each Assembly constituency will be enough — are still being addressed by the government.
In its 2017-18 budget, the Delhi government had allocated Rs 130 crore for the project, but sources said that it was planning to increase the budget since the project was estimated to cost significantly more. According to the plan, the agency which installs the cameras will be responsible for maintaining them for five years, said officials.
An AAP leader said, “If there is a problem with a camera, an SMS alert will be sent to the nearest RWA, beat constable and the company’s maintenance unit, prompting a mandatory repair within a day.”
Apart from the cost, a key consideration that will be required to be worked out, officials admitted, was who will monitor the feed. “While a section of government officials feel that there is simply not enough manpower to monitor the feed continuously, the plan in its present form is for RWA and market associations to monitor the footage,” an official said.