Poll code puts brakes on installing cameras in more BMTC buses

Poll code puts brakes on installing cameras in more BMTC buses

Already 500 vehicles are under CCTV surveillance

Poll code puts brakes on installing cameras in more BMTC buses

The model code of conduct for the past two weeks has put paid to the efforts of the BMTC to instal CCTV cameras in 1,000 more buses of its fleet. The Corporation had installed cameras in 500 buses last month, after a long delay.

The issue gains significance in the light of the fact that the sequence of events is yet to become clear in Friday’s incident in which the driver of a BMTC bus allegedly misbehaved with a woman, in the absence of a CCTV camera in the bus. The woman jumped out of the moving bus and sustained injuries.

Officials of the BMTC said that they were working out the modalities to float tenders for installing cameras in 1,000 of its fleet of 6,600 buses when the code of conduct came into effect. Now, they have to wait till the elections get over.

The BMTC now plans to procure 500 non-AC semi-low floor buses with in-built cameras, under the JnNURM scheme.

Officials say that installing a camera at a later stage is a time-consuming procedure, requiring about Rs 70,000 per bus to change and add electrical fittings.

The Centre has made it mandatory for buses to be fitted with CCTV cameras for cities with a population of more that 40 lakh, in the aftermath of the Nirbhaya incident, in which a girl was gangraped in a bus in Delhi in December 2012.

BMTC officials said that they were able to instal cameras in 100 buses per month on an average, despite the process starting only in the beginning of 2013.

After Friday’s incident, officials said, they would no longer wait for the funds under the Nirbhaya scheme to instal cameras,  for which they had sent a proposal to the Centre last year, but manage on their own.

Anjum Parvez, managing director of BMTC, told Deccan Herald, “All new buses that we are now procuring will either have in-built cameras or the new buses will be sent for installation of cameras before commissioning. Siddarth, the driver involved in Friday’s incident, was on probation because of complaints against him of a similar nature and cases of pilferage.

He joined BMTC in 2008 and since then, his probation period was being extended because of such issues,” he said. “To ensure that no bus plies with a single crew member, we have directed our Sarathi staff who conduct checks in the buses to see to it that every bus has a two-member crew - conductor and driver,” he added.

Siddarth has been dismissed from service with effect from Monday.

Meanwhile, the Chamarajpet police clarified that Siddarth was involved in only one similar case in 2012, which was reported. The Yeshwantpur police had registered a case against him for misbehaving with a woman passenger and later the woman turned hostile.

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