New CCTVs may prevent the boom with the beep

Published: 20 October, 2011 07:48 IST | Ravikiran Deshmukh |

State's 5,000 surveillance cameras can send out alarms in the vicinity and to police stations after spotting abandoned luggage, suspicious movements, and facilitate intelligence gathering and search operations

State's 5,000 surveillance cameras can send out alarms in the vicinity and to police stations after spotting abandoned luggage, suspicious movements, and facilitate intelligence gathering and search operations

Imagine this. It is past 5 pm. A commuter enters Mumbai Central Station, with him a regular-looking bag. He flits about, and when no one is looking, drops it discreetly. It lies unnoticed by commuters or security officials, with its possibly damaging contents. But before there is an explosion, several alarms go off at this station, but at others all the way up to Dadar. The bag is flashing on CCTV camera units at several stations and control room personnel hurry to check it. Disaster averted.

Now, think of a second scenario. A person in a red shirt is surveying a traffic signal and his movements are suspicious. The CCTV camera, preprogrammed to capture such movements, recognises him by the colour of his shirt, and rings out the alarms.

If the person leaves the premises, camera units in the vicinity highlight all the people wearing red shirts. Police stations are also alerted. The job of the police is cut out, and their search has been narrowed down.
This intelligent technology would soon be at the city's roads and stations.

After the London visit of Home Minister RR Patil and other senior police officials, it was decided that a network of 5,000 of such hi-tech CCTV cameras should keep a watch on Mumbai, at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore.
And the state cabinet, in its meeting last evening, went over a presentation by the home department, which detailed the advantages, disadvantages and gaps that the network, conceived along the lines of London, has.

How it works?
Elaborating how the CCTV network is expected to work, an official unauthorised to speak to the media said, "If a person makes suspicious movements in a particular area or a spot, beyond a certain period of time which is pre-fed in the network, the system will raise an alarm that will alert the cameras in the periphery determined by the authorities."

The alarm will alert security agencies and the wireless system used by the police. If the person disappears from the spot, his details such as the colour of his clothes can be used as an input. The CCTVs from nearby areas will spot persons clad in the specific colour, and monitor their movements, added the official.

The integrated network of CCTVs would cover the BMC, railways, Port Trust, private malls ands other sensitive areas. The fully-automated system requires less manual work.  After one feeds specific items to be monitored, the intelligent network will detect suspected movements or items, and alert the system with warning alarms fixed at nearby police chowkies. It will also be integrated in the wireless system used by the police, said the sources.

"The automated system that the state wants to install does not require 24-hour monitoring as it works on specific feeds," said the official.

Biggies bid
Big corporate houses such as Tatas, Wipro, Reliance, Siemens from India and Schneider from Europe have shown interest in the plan to bring Mumbai under the hawk-eyed surveillance. The companies are among the 12 bidders who have responded to the expression of interest bids floated by the home department two months ago. "Now, the documents submitted by the interested firms will be scrutinised along with inspection of similar projects carried out by the companies," said a state government official, requesting anonymity. "Firms that fulfill the prescribed criteria will be short-listed and the government will take a final call to award the work," he said. The firms interested must have an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore, with a previous experience of similar job worth at least Rs 10 crore.

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