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CCTV cameras installed on Amritsar city roads lie defunct for want of funds : The Tribune India

PK Jaiswar

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, June 28

Snatchings and robberies are the bane of the holy city. It witnesses a number of cases of lootings reported by women and traders. The CCTV cameras were installed at various inter-sections, including the Civil Lines area, with an aim to keep a track of criminal elements, besides checking traffic violations.

However, for the past 10 months, they had been lying defunct and the authorities had failed to make it operational after the contract with the private company responsible for its maintenance lapsed. While the police authorities expressed their inability to maintain the CCTV cameras for want of funds, the Improvement Trust (IT) authorities also passed the buck saying that they have handed over the same to the Police Department.

The CCTV cameras have aided the police in providing vital inputs to the department about many instances in the past, said an official. Though many localities and individuals have installed CCTV cameras in the streets and at doorsteps, they are of inferior quality and are hardly helpful in the investigation by the police, he added. Davinder Singh, a local resident said in November 2019, a jeweller was robbed of gold and diamond ornaments worth Rs 1 crore from Bhandari Bridge extension. However, the police failed to find any clue about the perpetrators. Had the CCTV cameras near Amritsar railway station or Bhandari Bridge been working, the police would have managed to find clues about the robbers. The notorious elements remained active in the holy city even during curfew and lockdown when there were restrictions on the movement of public.

A number of such cases were reported with the police in this connection. The much-awaited safe city project announced in 2014 by the state government, under which CCTV cameras were to be installed, never saw the light of day.

Another similar project was inaugurated in 2016 by the then Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi after funds were issued in this regard. Around 220 cameras were installed at 40 locations in the city. These cameras can capture images from as far as 1 km with great clarity. Police Commissioner Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill said they had taken up the matter with Improvement Trust in this connection.

“We are in coordination with them and they had assured to resolve the issue. However, due to Covid-19 pandemic, the work got lingered on,” he said.

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