Safe cities

Published November 17, 2018

THE state-of-the-art system of the Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA) is for crime control, road safety and traffic management. The integration of PSCA’s surveillance cameras with traffic police for the traffic management is a classic example of effective and successful utilisation of these surveillance cameras.

The PSCA sets the example of going beyond the basic monitoring to intelligent video surveillance that is helpful in controlling traffic violations, resources and infrastructure.

This surveillance system can do more for the citizens and cities’ infrastructure. In 2014, India started monitoring the cleanliness situation and attendance of sanitary staff through surveillance cameras installed at railway stations.

The Valletta local council and the cleansing and maintenance division of Malta also experienced successful monitoring of the waste management activities through CCTV cameras, and hefty fines were imposed on the offenders with evidence-based e-tickets.

Fifth schedule of the Punjab Local Government Act, 2013, provides a penalty of Rs1,000 for throwing garbage on the street or any place. For commercial entities, Item 20 of the fifth schedule has a fine of Rs1,000 in case a shop owner fails to make arrangements for the disposal of litter or garbage inside or outside his shop.

Apart from traffic management, metropolitan corporations and the PSCA should make arrangements for the integration of enforcement of cleanliness with the existing surveillance system.

This proposed integration will help us maintain cleanliness on roads, signals and in streets by issuing tickets to offenders. This integration can be done immediately without any investment and can be done by adding some soft component of IT to the existing surveillance system.

If this cannot be done throughout Pakistan, it should be done at least in major cities. This will bring more responsibility, discipline and accountability.

Finally, every citizen must understand his role in the maintenance of a clean, green and safe country.

Muzaffar Islam

Lahore

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2018

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