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Reckless roads to get digital monitor

Criminals and rash drivers, beware. Cameras will be tracking your every move on the capital’s roads soon.

For the first time, Ranchi police will be installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras at busy, important locations across the city with an aim to check criminal activities as well as monitor traffic in a better way.

At present, a group of six police personnel is conducting a survey to identify the spots where the third eyes are necessary. Once the study is over by the end of this month, the gadgets will be installed.

If all goes well, the exercise will begin by the first week of next month with installation of 25 CCTV cameras in the first phase. The number will gradually go up in keeping with funds flow. The state government is sponsoring the entire initiative.

“A decision has been taken to equip the capital’s roads with CCTV cameras for ensuring proper security to citizens. In the first stage, the cameras will be mounted at roundabouts like Sujata Chowk, Rajendra Chowk, Sarjana Chowk and other such crowded places,” confirmed Ranchi senior superintendent of police Prabhat Kumar.

A police officer at the district headquarters added that initially, policemen would keep a tab on the CCTV footage from nearby shops, but gradually a centralised monitoring cell would be developed and all the cameras linked to the control room.

“Once the cameras start functioning fully, the entire city will be under round-the-clock electronic surveillance. Policemen can rush to a crime or accident spot even without being formally informed by just screening the video footage,” the officer added.

Last year, Ranchi police had made a similar attempt to beef up security through e-surveillance in collaboration with the Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI).

However, that initiative was more restricted to business ventures as shops, restaurants and other business establishments were asked install CCTV cameras, of which one must face the road. Around 20 such cameras were came up at some shops near Main Road, but it did nothing to bring down the crime rate.

When contacted on Tuesday, president of FJJCI Bikash Singh hailed the new initiative by police. “Encouraged by then deputy superintendent of police P.N. Singh, we had set out to install CCTV cameras at shops and hotels. However, the plan didn’t progress the way we wanted to. I am happy that police have again taken an initiative. We will ensure full proper co-operation if needed.”

The traffic department is especially happy.

“CCTV cameras will help traffic management as we will be able to identify those who violate road rules. Besides, personnel manning the streets can know where the traffic load is more and accordingly divert vehicles,” said SP (traffic) Rajeev Ranjan.

Residents are also relieved. “If monitored properly, CCTV cameras will act as secret eyes of police,” said Umakant Mishra, a publisher.