Bangalore: The watch tells you that you are late. There is sparse traffic and police are hidden from sight. A snap decision makes you scoot off. Unlike days when you could get away, traffic police have adopted technology to curb the menace of traffic offenders. Fifty people sitting in a plush room in Ashoknagar traffic police station keep an eye on every commuter in the city through 175 (another 14 under repair currently) surveillance cameras. City Express visited the traffic control room to find out how the system that has literally mapped the whole city operates.
The entire city has been divided into 19 corridors, with 15 places in each corridor. Additional Commissioner of Traffic, MA Saleem said, “Each surveillance camera cost us Rs 1 lakh, however, that is not an obstacle for the department. For us connectivity is very expensive, Rs 40,000 per quarter for a camera.” The control room is equipped with 14 big LCD screens and four small computer monitors for each person to keep a tab on commuters crossing the junctions.
“If one is found violating any rule, two pictures of his vehicle are clicked — a close up shot and a long shot with other vehicles in the picture. The picture is then uploaded on our website. The next day, the violators vehicle number is matched with the RTO (Road Transport Operator) data. That’s how the address of the offender is found and notices sent,” says Vasanth Kumar, the Sub-Inspector of Ashoknagar Traffic control room.
Unlike days when you could get away, traffic cops have adopted technology to curb the menace of traffic offenders.
However, in case the vehicles are not registered with the RTO, then the names are dumped separately. The search for the address goes on for six months and after the said period the vehicle number is discarded. Thus, as far as preservation of data is concerned, vehicles that cannot be matched go off the record after six months. And the data collected by the surveillance cameras gets automatically deleted after a month. A major problem faced by the traffic control room is the glitch in connectivity due to road widening and metro projects. Vasanth Kumar says, “At present many cameras are not functional due to the ongoing projects in the city.”
As far as the continuous flow of power is concerned, each junction is equipped with battery charged solar panel that works as an alternative whenever BESCOM power gives up. The solar panel has the capacity to supply power up to eight hours. Apart from the surveillance cameras, Bangalore traffic department has installed enforcement cameras in five junctions.
Agreeing to the fact that the city needs more of enforcement cameras Vasanth Kumar said, “The cost of each enforcement cameras comes to Rs 40 lakh and hence we have installed these cameras on the outskirts of the city where overspeeding and traffic violations are more.”
Enforcement cameras automatically click picture of violators who cross the signal light after it goes red as well as those which are overspeeding. “All we need to do is send the notice to the violators,” said Vasanth Kumar. He further added, “Many a times people have come complaining that they are fined twice for the same violations. This happens because even after being caught by the enforcement cameras they continue to maintain the same speed till three kilometres and there again they are trapped by interceptors.”
Vasanth Kumar also claims that the cameras installed in various locations of the city have brought down the corruption rate at the lower level as exchange of money between the cop and offenders is not possible now. He adds, “There have been instances when traffic personnel have been caught on camera taking bribe. However, now they are aware of the presence of cameras, hence, they do not indulge in petty corruption.” These cameras are a boon whenever any untoward incidents like accidents are witnessed on the screen. The officer sitting in the control room informs the sub inspector of the particular area through wireless and immediately help is sent.
However sometimes mistakes do happen and when addressed they help in containing crime too. Like in the case of Satish Sharma (name changed) who was sent a notice by the traffic police for jumping a signal. Satish was quite shocked as he didn’t remember violating any rules. To clear the confusion, he fed his number in the website only to find out that someone else in the city had exactly the same number as his but a different scooter. He showed the picture as evidence to clear his name. The actual culprit had tweaked the number plate and with the complaint by Satish, it was found that the actual vehicle was stolen. The culprit was caught.
Consequently, each violator is given seven days of time to pay the fine. In case you have not paid the fine for the offense in the given period, the officers are alerted on their blackberry mobiles and they could confiscate your license. To check your fine and even to pay, visit www.bangaloretrafficpolice.gov.in.