Nearly 600 buses in Calcutta are now fitted with CCTV cameras for the safety of women passengers.
The new buses that have joined the fleet of state-owned CSTC under the JNNURM scheme have CCTV cameras fitted in the front, middle and outside rear of the buses. The images captured will initially be stored for three days.
The surveillance is being done essentially to prevent crime against women passengers. After the 2013 Delhi gang rape in a bus, the Supreme Court had asked the Delhi government to provide security on buses after 10pm. Other crimes like pickpocketing could also be reduced with the help of such surveillance.
CSTC now operates 1,000 buses; out of which 590 are the new AC and non-AC buses with CCTV surveillance. Officials said the remaining buses bought under the JNNURM scheme, which are undergoing trials now, would also have similar surveillance.
If any woman or other passenger lodges a complaint with police, the CCTV footage would provide vital information, said an official.
Initially, the footage will be stored for three days after which it would be erased automatically. To allow the police to use the CCTV footage, a person will have to lodge a complaint within three days.
A project to set up IT-based communication and surveillance system was being worked upon. It would become operational in six months’ time. Under the new system, the footage of the cameras will be stored in a control room set up at CSTC headquarters on Ganesh Chandra Avenue. Then the storage capacity will increase.
The transport department has given the contract to Mumbai and Delhi-based firms for installing and maintaining the GPS technology that would help in real-time tracking of buses.
There will also be voice communication with drivers. If there is a major traffic congestion ahead, the driver can be asked to change the route. 40 LED boards would be installed at various bus termini and stoppages, which would provide information about buses.
State transport officials on Thursday wrote to Kolkata Police and police commissionerates of neighbouring districts about the surveillance system. A team of officers at Kolkata police’s detective department inspected a couple of buses.
Senior officers in Lalbazar said that it had been decided that transport officials would start a control room where the footage collected from the CCTVs installed in the buses would be stored.
In the bus, the monitor will be fitted in front of the driver’s seat so that he also can keep a vigil.