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High tech surveillance system to be launched in Islamabad

Updated May 24, 2014


File photo
File photo

ISLAMABAD: As many as 1,950 close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed in the capital as a part of the ‘Safe City Project’ within the next eight months, officials in the police and the interior ministry told Dawn.

Through the security cameras, the movements of citizens will be monitored to counter terrorism and criminal activities.

The interior ministry has set the deadline of eight months for the completion of the safe city project, which is being launched with the financial assistance of China.

The Rs6 billion safe city project was initially conceived in 2008 but could not be launched due to the unavailability of funds.

1,950 CCTV cameras will be installed under the ‘Safe City Project’

Before abandoning the project, two scanners were brought to the capital city which remained unproductive.

The officials said this time the government had sought financial assistance from China which had agreed to provide a soft loan for the project. The initial cost of the project was Rs40 billion which also included scanners along with metal and explosive detectors. Eventually, the scanners and detectors were excluded from the project to bring down the cost from Rs40 billion to Rs12 billion.

The project will be executed by the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and Huawei, a Chinese telecom and information technology company.

“The funds will be provided by China on the basis of billing which will be made by Nadra and Huawei,” they added.

Huawei has given a year-long operational and three years’ free repair and maintenance guarantee, they said, adding after the completion the project would run on a test basis for two months.

The construction of a control room for the project has already started at the Police Line Headquarters.

A team of 150 officials will be trained to operate the system. The officials added that 130 LED screens would be installed inside the control room for monitoring the CCTVs.

All the spots have been identified and chosen after recommendations from the concerned superintendents of police.

The officials explained that each screen would telecast live footages from 15 CCTVs at a time.

The CCTVs and the control room will be run with modern and sophisticated software worth Rs250 million which is currently being used only in US and England, they added.

The cameras can capture an image of 32 mega pixels, giving them an ability to pick out a single face from a gathering even at the distance of 30 metres. Each face, picked from the CCTV cameras, can be verified with the Nadra database which can be used to obtain the details of the person.

Similarly, auto-thefts can also be monitored through the system while the software will be able to trace the vehicles using their registration number, model and colour.

The project will also utilise modern 4G LTE communication system to connect the control room with the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) of police. Furthermore, 600 personnel will be added in the capital police for the RRU as a part of the project.

Moreover, the capital police have also requested interior ministry to allow them to use global positioning system (GPS) to trace a person using their SIM number or international mobile station equipment identity (IMEI) code.

Furthermore, the software will allow accessing the CCTV footage of each individual’s location using the SIM and IMEI number.

Out of the total 1,950 CCTVs, 450 will be installed within the Red Zone, the officials said, adding that all the entry and exit points will be covered by the project.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2014