Students, especially girls, can hope to be safe at least in their colleges.
In a bid to make campuses a haven, authorities of higher education institutions in the city are installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at the colleges.
JD Women’s College took the initiative: it has 16 cameras to keep a check on everything on campus. Sri Arvind Mahila College, affiliated to Magadh University, has also installed eight security cameras. AN College has four but it is planning to install 10 more so that there are no blind spots on campus.
Principals of all these colleges have one reason for increasing campus surveillance: security of students, especially girls.
Their concern is not unfounded. Last Friday, two girls out on a morning stroll on the grounds of Patna College were allegedly abused and molested by a group of four youths, who are reportedly students of the institutions. When the girls raised an alarm, the youths assaulted their male friends who came to the rescue.
Eager to avoid such untoward incidents, college authorities have decided to take no risks. Besides security, the round-the-clock surveillance also ensures discipline among the students.
Prem Kumari, a zoology teacher at Sri Arvind Mahila College, said: “Our principal always keeps a watchful eye on the students. But it is not possible for her to be always present at all places on the campus. The CCTV cameras would reduce her burden for sure.”
She added that besides the surveillance, the college was also planning to ensure that visitors to the institution are also properly checked.
“The guard at the gate would have an intercom. Visitors would have to speak to the officials at the college office before they are given permission to enter the premises.”
Principal Asha Singh said: “The camera have been installed at the library, the science block, the conference hall, the staff room and the eastern and western gates. The monitor is in my office where I can keep an eye on the campus. Besides security, the surveillance also ensures that the students are disciplined, as they are aware that I am keeping an eye on them.”
Students, too, do not seem to have a problem with the constant scrutiny, if it ensures their security.
“I’m happy my college has taken this initiative. It makes us feel secure,” said Soni Kumar, a third-year of BA student JD Women’s College.
Not everything is hunky-dory with the security measures though. At AN College, planning to install 10 more CCTV cameras, the four, which are already there, are dysfunctional.
First-year postgraduate student Kundan Kumar Singh said: “The security cameras on campus do not work. Whenever I go to the principal’s office, I see that their monitors are blank.”
Asked about it, principal Haridwar Singh said: “It’s not that the camera don’t work at all — there are some technical problems. We shall get all of them repaired soon.”