Solar CCTV cameras to keep women safe on PMPML buses

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the transport body has decided to install these security cameras in 10 buses on an experimental basis, by paying an additional R1.5 lakh for each vehicle. If successful, the plan will be implemented on a larger scale. 

While using public transport, apart from comfort, female commuters in particular have real concerns about their safety. Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) is attempting to address this issue now, by installing solar-powered surveillance cameras inside its buses.

In this first-of-its-kind initiative, the transport body has decided to mount the CCTV cameras in 10 buses on an experimental basis.

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“We will install four cameras inside and four cameras on top of each vehicle. Initially, the plan will be implemented on 10 buses and, if successful, we will try and set up these cameras on all PMPML buses,” said director of PMPML Prashant Jagtap.

“These cameras will help ensure the safety of female passengers. Even if they are travelling at night, due to the presence of the CCTV cameras, miscreants will think twice before doing anything immoral.

Cases of theft and robbery in the buses can also be kept in check. Besides, the project will help us study the problems faced by commuters, based on which we can initiate necessary action,” he added.

PMPML will have to expend an additional Rs 1.5 lakh for every bus to install the CCTV systems. The organisation is searching for sponsors who will support this project.

Jugal Rathi, convener, PMP Pravasi Manch, believes that though the concept is good, the transport body is only trying to mislead the public by taking up such initiatives. “Already there are several systems in place to keep tabs on inconveniences faced by the commuters. But, PMPML authorities keep turning a blind eye towards these issues, and fail to take any action. There are thousands of complaints pouring in daily on the PMPML helpline, but the officials do not make much effort to address the grievances of travellers. I doubt if simply installing the cameras can bring any change in their lackadaisical attitude.

They should first provide basic services and then think of such luxuries. They should run the buses on time and concentrate on increasing the frequency of services so that the vehicles are not overcrowded and the safety of passengers is not compromised.”

Not everyone agrees
RTI activist Vivek Velankar doubts if the project can take off. “From where will the PMPML bring the required workforce to monitor the video recordings? Also, who will ensure the safety of these cameras when PMPML does not even have sufficient depots to park the buses?” he asked.

Ayyubkhan Pathan, the brains behind the solar-powered CCTV system, is of the opinion that such initiatives will help bring down the crime rate in the city. “These cameras should not only be installed on public transport buses, but even on private vehicles. This will facilitate in monitoring the city roads more efficiently, which will keep the criminals in check and help make the city a safe haven. If people can spend Rs 15 lakh to Rs 20 lakh on buying cars of their choice, spending Rs 1 lakh on this system will ensure their own safety and that of those around them.”

The live footage from the cameras can be viewed on mobile phones even if the surveyor is not in the vicinity of his vehicle.

The traffic police department in the city too has decided to install these cameras on five of its patrolling cars. When contacted, deputy commissioner of police (traffic) Vishwas Pandhare said, “We already have one patrolling car equipped with solar-powered cameras, and we have been running it on an experimental basis. After looking at the results, we will decide whether or not to implement the system in the other cars.”

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