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Third eye for unsafe roads

Its crime graph soaring, Jamshedpur is going the Patna way to introduce electronic surveillance on its unsafe roads, but without spending a penny on its own.

A private firm has approached the East Singhbhum district police to install CCTV cameras on certain important roads and other strategic points in the steel city for free. The police department, facing flak for the increasing incidents of snatching, molestation and assaults, besides mishaps, was only too happy to accept the proposal.

Senior superintendent of police Amol V. Homkar confirmed that talks were on with the firm to fix as many as 45 CCTV cameras on key city arteries in the first phase of the project. However, he declined to name the company.

“The proposal for installing CCTV cameras is being worked out jointly by a private firm and district police. The process of installation is set to start from February 15,” said Homkar, adding that the step would go a long way in curbing criminal activities and also road mishaps in the city, as the drivers will be cautious once they know that they are under electronic surveillance.

Important localities like Bistupur, Sakchi and Golmuri will be given priority in the first phase. The 45 CCTV cameras will come up atop billboards and at important squares so that a panoramic view of the roads is available from any given point.

“The company will take care of everything as far as installation of scanners and the central control room is concerned. It will also be in charge of maintaining the gadgets. Our task will be to monitor the images on screens at the central control room and take action accordingly,” Homkar said.

He, however, has cautioned the agency in question to install only quality cameras so that the move might not end up being a futile exercise.

A special team, headed by superintendent of police (city) Karthik S., has been set up to look into the installation process, which will start from mid-February.

When contacted, Karthik said the team assigned the job was busy selecting the spots where the CCTV cameras would be fixed. “We are selecting the points meticulously so that our objectives to check crimes and rash driving leading to mishaps are fulfilled,” said the city SP.

A senior officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the district police readily accepted the private company’s offer as in the recent past, it succeeded in cracking two major crimes with the help of CCTV cameras installed in Jugsalai.

Patna has many as 140 CCTV cameras installed by a Bihar government undertaking, Beltron, at specific localities. More 30 will be fixed in the coming days.