The Bengal government has set a tentative deadline of July 2022 for installing a vehicle-tracking system, CCTVs and panic buttons in passenger vehicles across the state as part of passenger security programme under the Nirbhaya framework.
Close to 19 lakh passenger vehicles, including buses, minibuses and taxis, would be brought under this surveillance project.
On Wednesday, a team of senior officials of the transport department, led by minister Firhad Hakim, met representatives of seven companies who have been working on the Nirbhaya framework.
The guidelines under the framework were drawn up to ensure safety of women in the wake of December 2012 Delhi gangrape in which six people had assaulted and killed a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern in a moving bus sparking countrywide protests.
“A command and control centre will be set up at the transport department’s office in Kasba where the exact location of vehicles will be available on screens against a click,” Hakim told Metro. “This will be a unified command centre with links to police across the state. We have identified the space where the centre will come up.”
“The Centre has promised 60 per cent of the total project cost. The rest will be borne by the state,” a state transport official said.
The state government wants to start with its own fleet of buses. “The rollout will involve installing software, developing backend systems and aligning different modes of communication and alerts on a single dashboard,” said a senior officer of the department. “A Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) will be drawn up and ahead of the final roll out there will be a series of extensive training for all stakeholders — police, transport department officials and tech support providers.”
In 2016, the Union ministry of road, transport and highways had made it mandatory for all “public service vehicles” to install vehicle location tracking devices and emergency buttons from April 2018.
The guideline said each bus should have a minimum of two cameras — one near the driver’s seat and the other in the middle to capture the passenger movement.
Most states have dragged feet on the project. Among the few that have already implemented the framework are Kerala, Goa and Uttarakhand.