Traffic control room officials upset that action has not been taken against most of the offenders caught by CCTV cameras set up at a cost of Rs 8 crore

Go ahead and jump signals, Big Brother is not watching you.

That seems to be the message going out to motorists from the Mumbai Traffic Police, for despite nearly 70,000 traffic violations being recorded by cameras and streamed to the control room in Worli in three years, action has been taken against barely 500-odd.

The offences recorded in the CCTV cameras include stopping the vehicle on the zebra crossing, parking in no parking zones, jumping signals and driving in the wrong direction

It may be recalled that when the control room and the expansive network of high-end cameras (see box) was set up at a cost of Rs 8 crore in 2008, the traffic police had promised that this would help make the roads safer by catching offenders even in places where cops are not stationed. 

"We are upset that nobody is interested in following up on the cases that we have brought to their notice. We have reminding our seniors to take action against the offenders for a long time but nobody is paying any attention," said an official from the control room, requesting anonymity.

Between 2008 and 2010, there have been a total of 70,000 cases recorded in the control room, some of which were submitted by constables. "Not even 500 people have been fined. We have to sit and monitor the cameras round-the-clock but the job is getting tiring now that we know the process is futile," he added.

Money matters

The offences recorded include stopping the vehicle on the zebra crossing, parking in no parking zones, jumping signals and driving in the wrong direction. If Rs 100 is taken as the average fine for the offences, the department has failed to collect nearly Rs 70 lakh.

According to officials, many cameras have stopped working and those that got damaged in accidents or by any other means have not been repaired or replaced.

"The cameras had also proved useful during the bandh when there were chances of disturbances and agitations.

We used them to identify places where mobs were gathering. The feed also helped us coordinate with the police control room and inform them about the situation on the streets. 100 such cameras were put up at various city crossroads," said the official.

How it works
The cameras can cover a distance of up to 1.5 kilometres and can rotate 360 degrees. They deliver clear images at night as well and are waterproof. They collect real time footage and transmit them to the control room. In case a motorist jumps a signal, his vehicle number is stored in the system and offenders are supposed to get notices for a fine in a week at the address mentioned at the time of vehicle registration.
The control room at Worli is monitored 24X7 by 24 traffic policemen in three shifts.

The Other Side
When MiD DAY contacted Brijesh Singh, additional commissioner of police (traffic), he said, "The cameras were primarily installed to monitor the traffic movement. But, we do take up cases against traffic violators." However, he refused to comment on the cases not being followed-up saying he would have to check the records.

Rs 8 crore
Cost of setting up the CCTV network in 2008