Probe into delay by PWD in installing CCTVs at HC

The demand for installation of CCTVs was heightened after a low-intensity blast three months ago at the same place.

New Delhi: With absence of CCTVs at the High Court cited as one of the major lacunae in the security system, and government receiving severe flak for it, an internal inquiry was on Friday, ordered by Public Works Department (PWD) into the delay in installation of these cameras.

"We have ordered an internal inquiry into the delays. Based on the findings of the probe, action would follow," top sources told a news agency.

PWD was asked to install CCTV cameras in various points in the High Court complex three years ago but due to procedural delays, the project did not take off.

The lack of surveillance devices near the reception counter, where the blast had taken place on Wednesday, has left the investigators virtually with no clue about the case.

The demand for installation of CCTVs was heightened after a low-intensity blast three months ago at the same place with lawyers and other at the Court seeking basic security apparatus, including the cameras to be in place.

Meanwhile, bypassing PWD, Delhi High Court, Chief Justice Dipak Misra, after a high-level meeting yesterday, decided to hand over the project to install 49 cameras to the Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL).

Addressing a press conference today, Home Minister P Chidambaram also cited the absence of CCTV cameras in the High Court complex and said,"risk-averse" PWD could not implement the project due to procedural wranglings.

When contacted, a senior official of PWD said, the project, initially estimated at Rs 66 lakh, got delayed as Delhi Police kept changing the specifications for the cameras.

"The final specifications and requirement from Delhi Police had only come on June 11. They kept changing the specifications in the last couple of years," the PWD official said.

He said, re-tendering was also done following complaints about the make and quantity of the cameras.

"Initially, we were told to install 32 cameras. But later, the number kept changing and finally they had told us, that they need 49 cameras. There was confusion in locations of the cameras also," the official said.

Listing the reasons for the delay, he said, there was a building and maintenance committee of Delhi High Court also, whose opinion PWD had to accommodate, which also led to the delay.

"There was a problem with the pricing also. There were so many factors but it is difficult to pin point one particular reason for the delay. We would have finalized the contract by today," he said.

Asked, whether PWD was disappointed at handing over the project to ECIL, he said the agency was "disturbed" at the development.

There are already 21 CCTV cameras in the court complex but there was none at the reception counter, where the blast had taken place. 49 cameras will be installed at strategic locations in and around the complex.


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