|An agent monitors the footage of CCTV cameras at Birsa Bus Stand in Khadgarha, while a third eye (top) spies on Ranchi station premises on Monday. (Hardeep Singh)
The capital’s transit point for 3,000 intra and inter state buses, Birsa Bus Stand (Khadgarha) in the capital’s Kantatoli, has come under 24/7 electronic surveillance, making it Ranchi’s first significant move to plug security loopholes in public places after terrorist links surfaced in the city.
Though dilapidated-looking still, the Khadgarha terminus, more popularly known as Kantatoli bus stand, boasts three CCTV cameras — at the toll gate, the waiting bay and entry route — and will get three more by this weekend.
Former SSP of Ranchi, Saket Kumar Singh, now shunted to Police Training Centre, Hazaribagh, had asked the bus association to put up CCTV cameras in November when probe revealed Patna blast accused Imtiyaz Ansari and three others reached Bihar by boarding a bus from the Birsa stand.
A confidential letter written by then SSP Singh to city DSP P.N. Singh had directed the latter to alert Lower Bazar, Chutia and Lalpur thanas and initiate public safety measures, including installing CCTV cameras. The Khadgarha bus terminus falls under Lower Bazar police station.
City DSP Singh said the three CCTV cameras were installed “around a week ago” as a joint venture of the police and Bus Owners’ Association of Jharkhand (Ranchi).
The bus association is sponsoring the six cameras at a cost of Rs 1.8 lakh — each unit costing Rs 30,000.
Association president Krishna Mohan Singh said they took this initiative when police directed them to do so. “Everyone wants to make this city safe. When city police asked us to take preventive steps, we immediately agreed to cooperate,” he said.
Currently, footage is being stored inside a computer set at the toll gate to be connected to the police control room. An armed police jawan has been deputed at the toll gate room.
The city DSP added electronic eye on the bus stand was imperative after Ranchi’s proven links to the Patna blasts emerged. Grilling revealed Imtiyaz and other suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives in Ranchi travelled to and fro Bihar on buses.
“Had the cameras been present earlier, we could have tracked Patna blast suspects easily. This technology will definitely give us an edge now,” he added.
“We will also put markets under camera surveillance. We are working closely on this with the business community, which is co-operating with us,” DSP Singh further said.
Ranchi station is also likely to get a dozen CCTV cameras by January-end.