mid-day editorial: CCTVs that work are a must

Jan 20, 2016, 07:37 IST | MiD DAY Correspondent

Thane railway station, the hub for both local and outstation trains, has 35 CCTV cameras installed all over the station

Thane railway station, the hub for both local and outstation trains, has 35 CCTV cameras installed all over the station. If that sounds reassuring, it is time to do a re-think. A report in this paper yesterday stated that many of these cameras do not work, so they are mere showpieces masquerading as security surveillance. To compound matters, even images from those that do work, shockingly cannot be viewed by cops for lack of a monitoring system, and this has been the case since the last two months.

There are 35 CCTV cameras installed under the Satis Bridge (Station Area Traffic Improvement Scheme) and out of them 23 work. The LCD monitoring system is dysfunctional. Work is on to directly connect the cameras to a command centre at the Thane Commissioner's office. The LCD screen, the monitoring system, was reportedly gathering dust.

It is a shame that these cameras that were given six years ago now lie in the state. The fact that images cannot be seen from the few that are working makes this entire exercise meaningless and a sham.

This comes at a time when the city is supposed to be completely covered by good quality CCTVs, with a blanket of security surveillance given the times we live in. Railway stations are definitely one of the most sensitive and vital cogs in Mumbai’s transport arms. We only need to look at how the CST was targeted during 26/11 terror attacks to understand how important it is to get it absolutely spot on when it comes to systems on public infrastructure.

The fact that after this installation there is no follow up, or that people are still scouting for a command centre, shows that we still do not have our priorities right.

Installation is not the only aspect of the system. Then one needs good quality images, post images, a centre to see them, otherwise the exercise is specious. Let us not keep cameras as cosmetic, feel good instruments, that are a waste of tax payers’ money. Get the entire apparatus, from installation to centres where images can be viewed, working like a well-oiled machine.

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