Three years, one month and 28 days after 26/11 terror attacks, the state government has finally cleared the proposal to buy 6,000 CCTV cameras to put Mumbai under London-style surveillance. This means that on an average 14 new cameras will keep an eye on every square kilometre.
The government had first discussed the idea of turning the entire city into a virtual fortress with 5,000 closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras immediately after the November 26, 2008 terror attacks, but the proposal was put into cold storage due to red tape. When the state and central governments came under heavy criticism after triple bomb blasts rocked the city last year, the proposal came back in favour.
Soon after the 13/7 triple blasts, a high-level team of police and home department officials led by Home Minister R R Patil, and comprising minister of state for home Satej Patil and Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik visited London to study the CCTV surveillance there.
Admitting to the delay, a home department official told Mumbai Mirror, "The proposal was to reach the state cabinet a little before 13/7, but when the triple blasts took place, we held the proposal back to expand its scope."
On Monday, the state chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad cleared the proposal to buy 6,000 CCTV cameras. The existing 400 cameras will be integrated into this network. All the 6,400 cameras will be connected to an integrated surveillance system that will monitor the entire city spanning 437 sq km. Take the sprawling Sanjay Gandhi National Park and other open spaces like the Aarey Colony out of this and you get an idea of the all pervasiveness of this eyes-in-the-sky network...