BMTC drops plan to install CCTVs in buses citing funds crunch

BMTC drops plan to install CCTVs in buses citing funds crunch

Centre had denied funds saying move won't help curb sexual assaults

BMTC drops plan to install CCTVs in buses citing funds crunch

The BMTC has dropped plans to install CCTV cameras in its buses after the corporation failed to get Central funds for the project.

Sexual harassment on city buses came under the spotlight after the 2012 gang-rape in Delhi. The BMTC decided to install CCTV on buses to keep an eye on miscreants and perverts. CCTV cameras were installed in 500 buses at a cost of Rs 4 crore.

As part of the efforts to ensure safety of women, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in April 2016 directed all state transport corporations to install CCTV cameras and GPS devices.

The BMTC operates 6,192 buses in the city. It costs Rs 68,000 to install two CCTV cameras, digital video recorder and three-year-maintenance. The corporation will need at least Rs 40 crore to install CCTVs in all buses.

However, the corporation has been running under a loss for the last four years. Stating that they can’t afford to spend money on the project, officials had sought Rs 50 crore from the Union Ministry of Women and Child Welfare under the Nirbhaya scheme but did not get a positive response.

Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy, along with Union Minister H N Ananth Kumar, had met Women and Child Welfare Minister Maneka Gandhi in December 2016 seeking funds.
Maneka, however, told the delegation that CCTV cameras won’t help curb sexual attacks and refused to fund the project. The minister, however, advised the panel to make a proposal for educating its personnel about gender sensitivity and training women personnel.

However, activists pointed out that most of the cases of molestation and rape are coming to light due to CCTV cameras. “Installing cameras in buses will definitely help women feel secure and acts as a deterrent to perverts. Dropping such a project is not right. The government should plug holes in the tax net to fund such projects,” said RTI activist Srinivas.

He said the cameras will not only prevent molestation but also ensure that men do not sit on seats reserved for women. “They will help BMTC authorities monitor their drivers and conductors,” he added.

“We have sought funds from the state government for buying 3,000 new buses. We are expecting the money in the budget allocation. We can’t spend Rs 40 crore on CCTV cameras at this juncture,” a BMTC official said.