Mumbai’s CCTV Plan ‘Moving at Snail’s Pace’

An estimate was recently completed and will be sent to the Cabinet for approval.
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A plan for installing 5,000 “closed circuit television” (CCTV) cameras across the city of Mumbai, India is “moving at snail’s pace” despite officials saying the surveillance cameras are an important step towards ensuring security, stakeholders say.

It has been two years since the Nov. 26, 2008 attacks at hotels in Mumbia and the tender (estimate) has just been completed by the government and forwarded to the Indian Cabinet for approval. Once that is complete, bidding on the project can begin, said an official with the Indian Information Technology Department. “PricewaterhouseCoopers helped us prepare the tender. We have submitted it to the cabinet a fortnight ago. After its approval, it will be floated for bidding,” the official said.

In addition, an Indian Home Department official said the tender took time to prepare because of the project’s expected cost. “The project involves high sums of money and it has to be foolproof. Once the bidding process is done, the project would be complete within three to four months.”

The Home Department has worked on all the aspects of the project, including where the CCTV cameras would be installed, the standard make of the cameras, the place from where they can be monitored and the staff who would monitor the video, according to a department official. Access to the monitors would be limited to police, an official said, however allowing the Traffic Department access is being considered.

Placement of the “video wall” is still being decided as “regional commissioners” have been asked to find a suitable location where the video wall can be installed, and the regional control room is likely to be the place where the video walls can be set up, the official said.

The government is also considering whether CCTVs of malls, multiplexes and banks can also be manned by the police to ensure any incidents can be averted at those usually crowded places, an official said.