LAHORE: The first phase of the Punjab government’s trumpeted Safe City project will become functional next month in Muharram with the help of CCTV cameras and walkthrough scanners, officials have told The Express Tribune.
Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif had ordered the main Muharram procession in Lahore be monitored by the Punjab Safe Cities Authority, an independent authority overseeing the completion of the Safe City project, which aims to strengthen the city police.
For the first time in Lahore, every move at the Muharram procession will be electronically monitored. Just like London and New York City thousands of CCTV cameras will be keeping a close watch on all activities.
An official associated with the project said the main route of the Muharram procession in Lahore came under the City Division jurisdiction. “Work on installing cameras and scanners has been completed in the area and for the first time, all movement at the procession will be monitored,” he added.
Every part of the city will be monitored through CCTV cameras at the centralised command and control system established in Qurban Lines, Lahore. Satellite imagery of the procession routes of the procession will also be available.
The contract of installing 10,000 surveillance cameras in Lahore was awarded to a Chinese Company Huawei at the cost of Rs12 billion, which includes operational and maintenance charges. Scanners are also to be installed at the entrance and exit points of the city.
At the integrated command, control and communication (IC3) centre, different spots of the city are on display on a larger screen. The officials can click on any point and enlarge the picture and see what’s happening on the ground.
The City Division can be monitored this why while the project in Lahore is set to be completed by May 2017. The project will have its own force, however, for the time being officials from regular police are inducted in Punjab Safe Cities Authority.
“The idea is to be able to monitor all the roads and streets in Lahore from a centralised system. Every scuffle, violation of traffic would be saved in the surveillance cameras and would help in reducing the crime graph,” said an official of Punjab Information and Technology Board, which provided assistance for the project.
Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said Chinese company Huawei would give a test demonstration by fifth of Muharram to ensure everything is in place and project would start working at City Division. “The surveillance of Muharram procession will be done electronically this year,” he added.
After Lahore, the project will be started in four other cities including Multan, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Gujranwala.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2016.
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