Power Supply Plays Spoilsport at Kalaghoda

by Sonal Desai    Nov 01, 2006

“The following is an extract on the CCTV project obtained from the Mumbai traffic police website: This project envisages implementation of computerized video surveillance at 100 critical traffic junctions in Mumbai for visual surveillance and incident detection to facilitate effective management of traffic control, law & order, special events, crime control and disaster response.”

“The system combines efficiency of video detection with the flexibility of PTZ cameras. The main function of this system will be to collect real time videos from distant cameras and transmit the footage via an optical fiber network to a control room fitted with workstation PCs.”

…When an alert is detected, the video incident server will send a command to PC workstations and display the real time image from the camera. This will enable the police identify offenders…

So, what went wrong at Kalaghoda, where three men fled after shooting a prime witness in a criminal case at the sessions court, mid October? Who played spoilsport?
Though three men were later arrested, the crime branch of the Mumbai police said that the case might not be watertight due of lack of concrete evidence.

Inquiries at Zicom Electronic Security Systems Ltd- the equipment supplier; and Reliance Communications- the network provider revealed the equipment had captured images and Reliance had provided connectivity. Both companies maintained there was no power supply to transport the images from the site to the police control room. A claim seconded by sources at the traffic control.

Sources at Zicom and Reliance informed that the Mumbai traffic police was responsible for power supply with regard to such projects. Confirming their responsibility for power supply, sources in the traffic police said that they borrowed temporary power supply from traffic signals. They admitted that the police is yet to submit requisition forms for power supply to Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), chief supplier of electricity in south Mumbai.

Says joint commissioner (traffic), Satish Mathur, “The CCTV project at Kalaghoda is not fully functional. It is still under the commissioning stage. Reliance was loading the software and checking whether the signals reached the control room. Even the camera was not fully functional. I will not call the Kalaghoda incident a failure.”

Sources said the camera lens was focused on a tree, when images first flashed on the control room screen. They revealed, “We could not control the camera, since we were not linked. There was no connectivity. Since the project (installation of 100 CCTVs across Mumbai) is to be implemented by the first half of 2007, no deadlines for connectivity were set.”

Amit Majumdar, head, special projects group at Zicom informs, “The camera at Kalaghoda is functional. It was checked before and after the shoot-out; and the same was demonstrated to the Mumbai traffic police. The camera is connected to the traffic control room at Worli via an optical fiber network provided by Reliance Communications.”

He said, “Ideally, Zicom and Reliance should work hand-in-hand. Once Zicom commissions the camera, Reliance should provide immediate connectivity. However, there were problems even with power supply.”

“Reliance Communications has a state-of-the-art Metropolitan Area Network, which provides the backbone for providing connectivity to the next generation CCTV Project initiated by Mumbai traffic Police. We are building a city-wide broadband network to provide the highest level of uptime and reliability to this prestigious project, which can form an important element for maintaining law and order in the commercial capital of the country,” a Reliance Communications Spokesperson said.

He added, “Our network connectivity at the location was functioning seamlessly without any interruption.”

S.D. Pawar, deputy general manager, telecommunications and U.Y. Vazandar, division engineer, commercial department Best, informed that the organization has the capacity to fulfill power supply requirements for the project.

“We are getting many requisitions for telecommunications boosters for tele-networking signals,” they said.