After a delay of two years, the Sindh government approved on Friday Rs30 billion for the launch of the Sindh Safe City project, under which 10,000 closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras are to be installed across Karachi in three phases. Each of the three phases is to be completed within a year's span, starting from the next fiscal year 2021-22.
The Sindh Safe City project was conceived in 2018 to control crime and increase vigilance through modern automated systems, provision of intelligence in cases of emergencies, bringing about improvements in road traffic management and enabling officials to take prompt action to deal with natural disasters. Under this project, the provincial government aims to introduce an e-policing system, equip police stations with modern tools and install a facial recognition system.
The project remained unrealized hitherto due to objections raised by security officials, among other reasons. The objections were raised at an apex committee meeting called to discuss the project's execution under the public private partnership model.
However, on Friday, the CM approved Rs30 billion to begin the project. He took the decision while presiding over a meeting held to review the progress of the scheme.
The meeting was told that the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) had submitted the technical and financial proposals for the project and the proposals now needed to be assessed by an evaluation committee.
At that, the CM approved the constitution of a nine-member technical committee, led by the Sindh Safe City project chief executive officer (CEO), for the purpose.
Moreover, he approved the proposal for assigning the charge of the project's CEO to Muquddus Haider and the charge of the chief technical officer to Tabassum Abbasi.
Notifications for their appointments and the formation of the technical committee are expected to be issued soon. The technical committee has been tasked with evaluating the technical and financial proposals of the NRTC in line with the project's PC-1 (a document that covers all aspects of a project) and assessing the phasing of the project as recommended by the NRTC in consultation with the Sindh Planning and Development Department.
Besides, the committee will look over the project's execution.
The CM has approved an execution plan for the project, under which the installation of 10,000 cameras is to be completed in Karachi in three phases.
In the first phase, CCTV cameras will be installed at the city's entry and exit points in South district at a cost of Rs9.9 billion. In the next phase, cameras will be installed in three more districts of the metropolis for Rs9.8 billion. The three districts that are to be covered under the second phase are yet to be decided. The last phase will see the installation of CCTV cameras in three remaining districts of the city for Rs9.7 billion.
At the meeting, the CM directed the finance department to arrange for Rs10 billion for the first phase of the project so that the funds could be issued in the next fiscal year.
"I want the project to start at the beginning of the next fiscal year 2021-22," he said, instructing Sindh Project and Development Department chairperson Mohammad Waseem to get the project's PC-1 approved by all relevant authorities and forums by the end of the current financial year.
The CM was also told in the meeting that of the 10,000 cameras that were to be installed in Karachi, 8,000 would be 12 megapixel cameras and 2,000 would be eight megapixel cameras. The cameras will be installed at over 2,000 spots with solar backup and will be connected to central and regional command centres and database centres.
At present, the CM was informed, 2,196 security cameras had been installed in the city, 1,201 of which were of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, 198 of the IT department and 155 of the Sindh Police.