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BENGALURU More than 2,500 CCTV cameras to watch over black spots

Posted On: 2018-01-08 09:42:16 ; Read: 216 time(s)

The city civic body is spending ₹20 crore to install more than 2,500 CCTV cameras to monitor reckless waste disposal at known ‘black spots’ in the city. Each of the 198 wards has been given ₹10 lakh to set up CCTV cameras and a monitoring centre at the ward and zonal level.

The move to install cameras comes in the wake of several instances of garbage and debris dumping at vacant sites, lakebeds and wetlands in the recent months.

Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, Solid Waste Management, BBMP, said zonal joint commissioners and ward committees that have already been tasked with drawing up SWM plans for their wards by the High Court will select the spots where cameras must be placed. “A centralised selection of these spots may render them useless,” he said.

Historically, black spots multiplied in the city whenever BBMP went for strict implementation of segregation of waste at source, refusing to collect mixed waste leading to visual pollution, exerting pressure on the civic body to revert to collecting mixed waste. This is a vicious cycle that remains unbroken.

With the High Court tasking ward committees with preparing micro-plans, it would only mean making segregation mandatory and separating the two streams of dry and wet waste collection completely. This may initially lead to new black spots, which this time, BBMP wants to combat with CCTV cameras at such spots. “We will impose hefty penalties this time. And once we put up CCTV cameras, the black spots are likely to move. So, we will keep these camera locations dynamic,” he said.

N.S. Ramakanth, member, SWM Expert Committee, said installation of CCTV cameras alone will not solve the problem. What is required is regular monitoring and penal action, he argued. However, he said he was not optimistic of such action by the BBMP. “Many volunteers have, in the past couple of months, been on night patrols, catching those dumping waste into lakebeds and other areas, and in multiple cases provided BBMP with photographic evidence and vehicle numbers. But, no action has been taken in a single case. So what is the use of CCTV cameras?” he asked

Mr. Ramakanth further said that monitoring of the footage must not be the sole domain of BBMP officials and it must be opened up for social audit by resident welfare associations and other solid waste management volunteers from the ward.

Clean-up marshals remain non-starter

Clean-up marshals, a scheme where ex-servicemen would be roped in to oversee waste collection and transportation at the ward level and levy penalties for non-segregation, has remained a non-starter despite High Court directions.

The BBMP council that has been consistently opposing the move, citing salaries to be a burden, recently approved a pilot for deploying clean-up marashals in one ward. However, to date, officials have been unable to find a single ward whose councillor is ready to subject waste collection in their ward to a social audit, senior BBMP officials said.

Sarfaraz Khan, Joint Commissioner, SWM, said the civic body will now recruit eight marshals, one per zone and deploy them on Prahaari vehicles, the civic body's vigilance vehicles, on night shift to help catch those dumping waste. “There are 21 Prahaari vehicles with the BBMP and most of their rounds were unaccountable. Now, we have got GPS systems on all the vehicles to track their rounds. The marshals will bring further accountability to these vehicles,” he said.

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