Govt mulls CCTV in buses, owners skeptic

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Bhubaneswar: In a bid to beef up safety and security of passengers, especially women commuters, the State government is planning to make it mandatory for all the bus operators to install close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras and global positioning system (GPS) in their buses.

A formal notification carrying the draft guidelines has been published by the Commerce and Transport department. According to the draft guidelines, no route permit will be issued to operators who fail to install CCTV cameras and GPRS system.

Commenting on the initiative, Transport minister Ramesh Majhi had earlier said, “Keeping in mind the safety of passengers, especially women, the State government is planning to amend certain rules and regulations within the Odisha Motor Vehicles Rules, 1993.”

“We are planning to amend the Rule 73 of the Act in which while issuing permit, bus operators will be asked to make provisions of CCTV cameras and GPS in the bus. Moreover, all details of the staff members of the bus will also be maintained with concerned authorities,” he added.

Currently, these proposals are in a draft stage and after looking into the feedback from various organisations and public at large, necessary steps will be taken and subsequently, these will be converted into rules, Majhi said, adding that after these proposals are promulgated as rules, it will become mandatory for bus owners to follow.

However, Private Bus Owners’ Association secretary Debendra Sahu has raised certain doubts over its effectiveness stating that there are quite a few lacunae in the proposed initiatives. CCTV cameras are generally installed in a place where it is inaccessible to passengers and can provide ample coverage of the bus. However, to find such a spot in the bus is quite difficult, he pointed out.

Similarly, the GPRS system is also not feasible because if it is used as a rule to keep a track of the movement of the bus, it will induce unnecessary penalty on bus operators as buses tend to deviate from their route plan for a lot of unavoidable reasons like accidents, breakdown, etc, contended Sahu.

Commenting on furnishing of details of the staff, Sahu said that this is a redundant procedure as such details are already checked by the police while issuing licences to them. Moreover, for an owner to get the police verification done for a person who could be from a far-flung area is not at all feasible.

Currently, there are around 15,000 private and 426 government busses plying in the State.

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