Odisha: Poor-quality CCTV leaves accident victims running to police station in vain

Even though over three months have passed since the mishap, till now the city police are clueless as they have not yet managed to retrieve clear CCTV footage of the vehicle involved in the accident.

Published: 28th August 2023 09:25 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th August 2023 09:25 AM   |  A+A-

CCTV camera

Image used for representational purpose.

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: A 56-year-old woman’s daughter has been running to the police station for the last three months to generate the registration number of a car that hit her mother and left her with brain injury but in vain. Thanks to the poor quality of CCTV cameras in the city, the teenager has been sent back without any help from the cops who have allegedly not been able to figure out the registration number from the footage.

For Jyotirmayee Patra, a victim of the city’s unruly roads, a life-altering event on the evening of May 5 depleted most of her savings with no relief in sight. The 56-year-old was travelling on a two-wheeler with her daughter, Shreya Suman riding pillion when they were hit by a speeding car right in front of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) office. Even though over three months have passed since the mishap, till now the city police are clueless as they have not yet managed to retrieve clear CCTV footage of the vehicle involved in the accident.

The mother-daughter duo was travelling towards Saheed Nagar on their two-wheeler when the accident took place. Shreya was hurt in the accident but her mother suffered critical injuries on her head though both wore helmets. The car fled after hitting their two-wheeler.  

Jyotirmayee was admitted to a private hospital where she underwent brain surgery which cost her over Rs 1.30 lakh. While She is a single mother, Shreya, is a second-year student of Bachelor in Computer Applications (BCA). Jyotirmayee stitches clothes and Shreya imparts dance training to children to make ends meet.

“We lodged a complaint in Kharavela Nagar police station after the accident but so far, police have not been able to figure out citing the CCTV camera footage was not good enough. Most of her savings were spent on the surgery. Had the police managed to trace the car, we could have availed financial assistance in case the vehicle was covered under third-party insurance,” Shreya told The New Indian Express.

Jyotirmayee lodged a complaint with Kharavela Nagar police station on May 22 and police closed the case 10 days later without any outcome. The incident has brought the focus back on poor CCTV surveillance in the state capital. Despite a rise in population which has warranted an enhancement of CCTV eyes, Bhubaneswar has been struggling with poor coverage as well as quality.

Sources in Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) said around 571 CCTV cameras, including pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) and fixed cameras, have been installed across 149 locations. Besides, at least 96 automatic number plate recognition (ANPR)-enabled cameras are operational across 36 locations. What’s appalling is that more than 10 per cent of the CCTV cameras develop glitches every day. With no regular preventive maintenance in place, police are left struggling.

In fact, the Commissionerate Police had 134 CCTV cameras at 28 locations in the city. However, its annual maintenance contract with the firm ended in 2021 and waiting to be renewed. As a result, the number of operational cameras has come down to around 40.

“Earlier, top brass of BSCL and Commissionerate Police used to hold reviews every two months to take stock of the situation but the frequency of such meetings has reduced, affecting functionality and efficiency of the CCTV network,” said sources.

Several CCTV cameras developed technical glitches after the onset of the south-west monsoon season. The number of Commissionerate Police’s own CCTV cameras has also reduced significantly in the last three years and the organisation is mostly relying on feed shared by BSCL.

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