PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday woke up to the need for the much-delayed Peshawar Safe City project as Chief Minister Mahmood Khan asked the relevant authorities to come up with a plan in three days to initiate work on it.

The project, which envisages the installation of thousands of closed-circuit television cameras across the provincial capital, has been in the doldrums for many years.

It was conceived by the ANP government but it wasn’t executed due to the departmental wrangling and negligence.

CCTV cameras to be installed first in Peshawar, then in divisional HQs

Chairing a meeting on Tuesday, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan directed the relevant officials to prepare a plan to initiate work on the project within three days.

The meeting was attended by chief secretary Saleem Khan, additional chief secretary Shahzad Bangash, police chief Dr Mohammad Naeem Khan, chief operating officer of Punjab Safe Cities Authority Akbar Nasir Khan, and other officials.

A statement issued here said the project would prove to be a milestone for effective e-governance and that it would be extended to the divisional headquarters after successful execution in the provincial capital.

It added that the initiative would be based on four major components, including integrated emergency response system, integrated intelligent counter surveillance system, intelligent traffic management system, and electronic evidence management system.

The chief minister said the project would help establish a centralised mechanism through which the government would monitor everything happening in Peshawar from monitoring of elections, natural disasters, terrorism related incidents, traffic situation, Muharram processions, VIP visits, rallies, markets under one roof.

Under the integrated emergency response system, an emergency call centre will be established for citizens for prompt action on emergency calls and coordination with the relevant authorities, including Rescue 1122, fire brigade, police station and district administration.

Under the integrated intelligent counter surveillance system, IPNV cameras will be installed throughout the city including vehicular cameras for surveillance of the entire city and collection of evidence which, after completion of codal formalities, will be acceptable in courts.

The intelligent traffic management system will help in real time the monitoring of traffic in the city through installed cameras, which will monitor traffic violations, illegal vehicles and taking of prompt response, including the issuance of e-challan.

The statement said once implemented, the project would also help identify areas with high crime rate and traffic violations, which would help in efficient deployment of law-enforcement officials.

The chief minister said the government was committed to improving the governance system in the province by introducing technological reforms, which would help overhaul the system to bring it on a par with modern and international standards.

Initially, the home and tribal affairs department was responsible for executing the project. However, it was later handed over to the police department.

In the 2013-14 budget, the government had allocated Rs1.5 billion for the project and even consultants were also hired for it. However, the project didn’t see the light of the day due to the departmental rivalries and rising cost.

Details available with Dawn show that the Punjab Safe Cities Authority has hinted at providing technical and management support for the project and it has showed willingness to serve as a consultant to the KP government on the project and training of KP police to manage the project.

This is likely to be done through a memorandum of understanding or direct contracting and PSCA teams will conduct the project feasibility and provide details including building and technology component.

Meanwhile, the chief minister chaired another meeting on the law and order situation in the province.

A senior government official told Dawn that the chief minister expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of police department over law and order situation and directed it to share the weekly report with him regarding law and order, street crimes and other issues on a regular basis.

Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2019