KOCHI: A handful of projects launched by the police are stuck in a rut while some are yet to be flagged off. Auto fare meter checking, linking of surveillance cameras of shops to the control room and the commissioner’s office, German model high-tech bikes, pelican crossing and smart parking system took off long ago, but are yet to make a mark. Meanwhile, projects such as identification cards for autorickshaw drivers and migrant labourers, automated traffic system and cyber crime centre announced long ago are still awaiting the green flag. K G James, City Police Commissioner, told ‘City Express’, that some projects have been temporarily suspended owing to the ongoing Metro work and some because of legal and practical issues. “Most projects that were announced have been flagged off, but are facing legal and practical hurdles,” he said.
There was a time when autorickshaw fare meter checking drive was intense and identification card was a must for the drivers. Gradually, the drivers launched strikes against the fare meter drive and booking of drivers who fleeced passengers.
The drive has lost steam over the past few months. The police officials said checking had to be stopped owing to the lethargy of Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) in taking action against these auto drivers. “The licence of the drivers and permits of the autorickshaws, caught for flouting laws, are sent to MVD for initiating action. But MVD sits on our recommendations for several months. Since no action is taken against these autorickshaw drivers, the checking has been stopped temporarily. As for the identification card for autorickshaw drivers, the project still remains on paper,” a police official said.
Linking surveillance cameras
In May 2012, then Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan inaugurated the project of attaching surveillance cameras of various establishments with the police control room. The police had prepared a short film as a demo for the project and Thiruvanchoor declared that it would be implemented state-wide. But till now apart from a few business establishments, the majority of the establishments are not convinced with the project. “Around 400 shops and private companies, at first, approached us for the project. But this involves huge expenses and many hesitated to cooperate with the police,” police officials in the control room said.
German model high-tech bikes
The much hyped bikes modeled on German police bikes, made specially for the city police in 2009, hardly serve their purpose. These were sponsored by former Union Minister K V Thomas, who got impressed by the bikes which are fitted with modern features, during his visit to Germany. On his return he sponsored 10 bikes with hightech features for Kochi police, similar to those of their German counterparts. Unfortunately, none of the bikes are fully operational now. Each bike was refitted with features worth `1.5 lakh. The vehicles were helpful for night patrolling and for chasing down vehicles that violated traffic laws.
The main reason for the sorry state of affairs is their indiscriminate use. Some policemen were even using them for learning bike riding despite the strict instructions that the bikes were to be handled by a selected few when they were distributed to each police station,” said an official.
The Kochi police has no head office of its own. After demolishing a good office which was located at a prime spot, the office was shifted to the Revenue Tower in 2010. Over the last four years, around `3 to `4 lakh has been spent on rent.
The old commissioner office was demolished in order to construct a new office with hightech facilities. But till now the proposed building remains on paper and is awaiting clearance from various authorities. City Police Commissioner K G James said that all obstacles regarding the construction of the commissioner’s office have been cleared and the construction will start soon.
Registration of labourers from other states
The police commenced the project after a large number of criminal cases involving workers from other states cropped up. Once the police had made it manadatory for each labourer and contractor to register their name and native address with the concerned police station. However, later the police found that such registration was illegal and impractical. So the project was dropped.
Loses Cyber Crime Centre
In 2012, when Finance Minister K M Mani announced the state budget, Kochi received a few projects of which one was Cyber Crime Centre. The state government had allocated `2 crore for setting up the centre on PPP model for conducting research on various cyber-related issues. However, with no land identified, the project was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram under a new name ‘Cyberdome’.
Pelican crossing, automated traffic signal system, and earmarking parking spaces yet to take off
The pelican crossing was proposed for the safety of pedestrians crossing the road near schools and conjested traffic zones. However, after the Metro rail project commenced, the project didn’t take off. The automated traffic signal lights powered by solar energy also met with the same fate. Another important project was earmarking of parking space with the assistance of the Kochi Corportation. But since after its declaration, nothing has happened and the parking-related issues still remain a major concern.