With the memories of last year’s Brigade Road chaos on New Year’s Eve still fresh, authorities in Bengaluru are not taking any chances this time round. City Mayor Sampath Raj has allotted Rs 5 crore for installing CCTV cameras and LED screens to prevent such incidents at important junctions.
The cameras and screens will be installed by the city police after junctions are identified.
Speaking to TNM, the Mayor said, “360-degree cameras will be installed at a cost of Rs 5 crore at major junctions including Brigade Road. One monitor will be at the local police station and another will be at the BBMP office. The coverage will be like in metro stations where the entire area is under CCTV surveillance.”
Sampath Raj added that it is not only the responsibility of the police department but BBMP also should play an active role to safeguard citizens. “So, wherever there is a possibility of a large number of people gathering, we will put LED screens for those two days (December 31 and January 1). These screens will make people feel safe and also prevent unwanted behaviour.”
The Mayor also asked corporators to identify spots where large crowds assemble and install CCTVs there in respective wards. A sum of Rs 10 lakh has been allotted to each ward for this purpose.
Besides monitoring crowds, the CCTVs will also be used to monitor civic works.
Women's rights activist KS Vimala welcomes move
“It is not that CCTVs can guarantee safety, but this would be helpful. Even last year and the year before, when the incident occurred, it is due to CCTVs that we could get to know what went wrong,” she told TNM.
She also suggested that presence of more police staff on the ground would help.
“Moreover, there needs to be a sustained awareness campaign. Unless and until the mindset about women in the society changes, it won’t solve the problem in the long run,” she added.
“The BBMP Mayor and Commissioner, should meet the Police Commissioner and follow the Supreme Court guidelines to promote awareness about sexual harassment. Hoardings and other methods of communication like puppeteering should be used to sensitise the public,” she said.
What happened last year on New Year’s Eve?
Bengaluru got a bad name after media reports claimed that women were “molested” en masse in the heart of the city on December 31, 2016. Police were accused of remaining mute spectators when the incident allegedly took place on Brigade Road.
Photos and videos of the chaotic scenes were splashed in national and international media. Following this, the image of Bengaluru being a safe city for women had come into question.