Unfortunate that public being misled on CCTV issue repeatedly and deliberately: L-G

NEW DELHI: Days after Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that the Lt Governor was delaying the AAP government's CCTV project, Anil Baijal on Sunday wrote to him, saying it was "unfortunate" that the public and media were being "misled" on the issue "repeatedly and deliberately".

After Baijal formed a committee to come up with a standard operating procedure for the installation, operation and monitoring of closed-circuit television cameras, Kejriwal alleged that the only aim of setting up the panel was to interrupt government work and not let the CCTV cameras be installed.

On Saturday, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had said that Arvind Kejriwal and all AAP MLAs will walk from his residence to the L-G House on Monday seeking nod for CCTVs cameras to be installed in the city.

In his letter to Kejriwal, the L-G said "misleading" information being spread by the AAP dispensation seems to be an attempt to "sidetrack" the core issue of women's safety and the "lackadaisical approach" of the Delhi government on this issue.

Asserting that no proposal relating to award of the work for installation of CCTV cameras has been received by this office, Baijal said the proposal for award of work for installation of CCTV cameras is pending with the government only and no directions have been issued by this office to stall the award of work for CCTV tender.

"It is unfortunate that repeatedly and deliberately, the general public and the media are being misled that office of L-G is delaying the installation of CCTV cameras. This is far from truth," a statement from the L-G office said in a statement quoting Baijal's letter.

According to the statement, Baijal said while the government has been talking about installation of CCTVs for the last three years without much concrete progress, more than 2 lakh cameras have already been installed in the city by Delhi Police, DMRC, DDA, local bodies, market associations, RWAs among others.

However, these are being used without any Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and regulatory frame-work, it stated.

"Uncontrolled and unregulated mushrooming of CCTVs does not lead to any effective outcome for security and law enforcement and it may encroach upon the privacy of individuals," Baijal said, adding to use these cameras effectively for law enforcement, prevention of crime and investigation, an SOP or regulatory framework for CCTVs is imperative.

According to the statement from the L-G office, the committee has been set up to frame comprehensive rules, policies and procedures for installation, operation and monitoring of CCTVs in public places. 

It also stated that the L-G has observed that the chief minister would agree with the need for putting in place a framework to monitor the working of CCTVs

The chief minister himself had complained to the L-G office on May 10 about the death of a girl in a Delhi government school, where the recordings of CCTV cameras on the date of the incident are not available. In such circumstances, the "misleading information" being spread in the media that the proposal of award of work is stalled by the office of Lt. Governor is "unfortunate", the L-G office said.