SCB security plan crawls

Four years since police recommended beefing up surveillance at SCB Medical College and Hospital with closed circuit television and pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, the authorities have made little progress in implementing the recommendations.

By LALMOHAN PATNAIK in Cuttack
  • Published 20.03.17
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The SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack. Picture by Badrika Nath Das

Cuttack, March 19: Four years since police recommended beefing up surveillance at SCB Medical College and Hospital with closed circuit television and pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, the authorities have made little progress in implementing the recommendations.

The recent theft of two newborn babies from the state-run hospital highlighted the need to tighten security and surveillance at the health care unit.

The Cuttack deputy police commissioner's office had recommended improvement in surveillance at SCB along with installation of CCTV cameras at different locations on campus and PTZ cameras on both the main entrances in 2013. The recommendations emphasised the need to ensure security to women attendants of patients, women members of staff, girl students of medicine, nursing and other courses and to keep a tab on goons.

"We expect measures to prevent free access of outsiders to the campus and installation of CCTV cameras at entrances for better monitoring" deputy police commissioner, Cuttack, Sanjeev Arora told The Telegraph today.

PTZ cameras facilitate high-resolution imaging and long shots along with zoom and 360 degree rotation. The cameras would allow the authorities to monitor entry and exit of persons or vehicles at the main gates.

"The recent arrest of a woman for the theft of the two newborn babies with the help of CCTV footage at the gynaecology department makes a case for such arrangements," Arora said.

"Installation of CCTV cameras is already under way. They are already functioning at the gynaecology department (labour room and sick newborn care units) and casualty wing," SCB's administrative officer Pratap Mishra told The Telegraph .

An SCB official said the CCTV project was delayed after the Odisha State Police Housing and Welfare Corporation, which was initially entrusted with the job, backed out in the Detailed Project Report stage after making a spot assessment.

The corporation, the officials said, was chosen after it successfully installed CCTV cameras during Nabakalebar celebrations in Puri when it kept the town under surveillance.

The general electrical division of the works department has now taken up the task.

"Under the project, we plan to install 70 CCTV cameras at 21 locations in addition to PTZ cameras at the front gate on Mangalabag side and rear gate on Ranihat side," he said.

There are also plans to install CCTV cameras in the indoor wards of different departments in subsequent phases.

"We expect the general electrical division to complete the project expeditiously. It has not submitted the expenditure estimate so far. The cost will be borne either from funds received from the government or the hospital's earnings," Mishra said.

Advocate P.R. Dash, member of the high court-constituted health care committee, said: "It's a good sign that the SCB authorities have finally started implementing the CCTV project. But it remains to be seen how long they take to complete it."

"I think installation of the PTZ cameras at the two entrances needs to be a priority," Dash said.