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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Web of cameras to check crime

From May, everything on the city streets would be under the close scrutiny of police, much like a George Orwell novel.

The “city surveillance” project of Patna police has begun. It would be completed within three months. By May, as many as 78 closed-circuit television cameras would be installed at 69 locations. Images taken by these cameras would be monitored round-the-clock at a central control room in the police headquarters.

Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Amrit Raj told The Telegraph: “Bihar State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd (Beltron), which has been given the contract for the project, has begun to survey the exact locations where the CCTV cameras would be installed.”

Beltron, in turn, has outsourced the work to French multinational company Orange.

“The survey began this Wednesday. It will take them three months to complete it,” said Raj, adding that the process of installing the cameras would begin after the report is submitted.

The survey report would be tabled by April.

The locations where the cameras would be installed have already been decided, said Raj.

“Some of the areas where the CCTV cameras would be installed are Boring Road roundabout, the Zero Mile area, Rajendra Nagar Terminal, the area near Patna High Court and the civil court premises. At some of the places, more than one camera would be installed,” said the SSP.

Asked about the utility of installing the cameras, he said it would improve the law and order situation in the city.

“The main objective is improvement of the law and order condition. It would be possible to keep an eye on every nook and corner of Patna with the help of the cameras,” said Raj.

He added: “Footage available from the cameras would help identify perpetrators of crimes and track them down.”

The CCTV cameras would also help manage traffic.

This is not the first time that Patna police have tried to monitor the streets with hi-tech devices. Earlier, CCTV cameras were installed at four locations — Income Tax roundabout, Patna Junction roundabout, Exhibition Road roundabout and Dakbungalow roundabout to keep a check on traffic. “These cameras are working. A control room has been set up at the traffic police office which works out of Gandhi Maidan police station,” said Raj.

The traffic police website does not provide regular updates though.