Puri: Out of more than 150 CCTV cameras installed at strategic spots to keep an eye on anti-social elements, only a few work in Puri town. Despite being a tourist hotspot, the town continues to grapple with high crime rates but the cops are in a fix owing to lack of visual inputs.
Thousands of domestic and international visitors come to this pilgrim town every day. To keep the town safe, CCTV cameras had been installed at various important locations including inside and outside of the Jagannath temple, Grand Road, Medical Square, Court Square, Sea Beach Road, Swargadwar and at the entrance point from National Highway.
Most of these CCTV cameras were damaged during cyclone Fani and have remained non-functional ever since. At the time of the car festival, a few cameras around the temple were repaired. The remaining ones are lying defunct till date.
It is well established that CCTV cameras go a long way in solving and deterring crimes. The administration, however, is hardly concerned about the prevailing defunct surveillance system in the city. Anti-socials elements in the town are taking complete advantages of the defunct system as has been evident from the recent spurt in crimes.
Last month three major crimes took place in this town. In one, gold ornaments were looted from a woman near College Square road. In the second, Rs 10lakh cash was looted from a senior citizen at gunpoint. In the third incident, miscreants decamped with more than a lakh from a car and a motorcycle dicky by throwing ten rupees notes as bait on Grand Road.
Without any CCTV footage, the police are yet to make any headway in solving these crimes. Had the CCTV cameras been functional, the cops could have already arrested the miscreants, local residents said.
When contacted, Puri SP Umashankar Dash admitted that the CCTV cameras were damaged during cyclone Fani.
“The ones at most important places were repaired. CCTVs at the Jagannath temple and Grand Road are functioning well. Remaining cameras would soon be made functional,” said Dash.
The police are always watchful in ensuring the safety of the Jagannath temple, pilgrims and tourists. Any kind of criminal activities would never be tolerated, the SP maintained.