Yesterday, this paper carried a front page report on how the state government’s ambitious project to lay a surveillance web of CCTV cameras across the city is stuck between two lobbies: one that is backing the third-generation wireless technology or 3G to connect the entire network of cameras to the central server, and another rooting for the traditional optical fibre network.

The government committee is torn between leading 3G firms lobbying with the state government for establishing a wireless CCTV network that would be cheaper and faster in roll-out speed, but Mumbai Police, is opposed to this.

The cops are adamant on a network that is based on an underground cable network, which is more secure and is executed by public sector undertakings.
To make things more complicated, the report stated that there is also a third lobby backed by fresh startups and IT entrepreneurs, who are assuring government new-age technologies other than 3G and cable.

While tenders fly back ‘n’ forth and endless debates are conducted about the problem, the only real concern for the common man is why so much time has elapsed about putting the city under surveillance.

In the end, why is one person/or body not authorised with taking a final decision about the kind of surveillance network that is needed for this city?

Mumbai has been the epicenter of one of the biggest terror attacks in contemporary times — the 26/11 attacks have unfortunately become a benchmark of other terror attacks in the world. The city should have had extensive and complete CCTV coverage post that attack. While 26/11 may have been high profile, who can forget that Mumbai has been targeted so many times?

We cannot afford to waste any more time to get CCTV surveillance. Because terror waits for nothing and nobody. Stop dithering and debating, it is high time we get surveillance cover like most cities in the world already have.