At least 1,648 cameras installed in Kathmandu Valley
KATHMANDU, Feb 15: On December 24, 2019, a motorcycle was hit by a tipper truck at Gurjudhara along the Tribhuvan Highway. The accident killed bike rider Arjun Bahadur KC on the spot, while his son, who was pillion-riding, was severely injured. There were no traffic police along the highway and the truck was able to flee the scene.
However, police investigations found that the motorcycle (Province 3- 02- 009 Pa 7629) was hit by the tipper truck with the registration number Na 8 Kha 3424. Barely two days after the incident, police took the truck under control from Lalitpur – thanks to a number of CCTV surveillance cameras installed at different points in the Valley.
In recent months, CCTV cameras have been a great help to police in resolving what are often complicated cases.
“CCTV footage has made it easier for the police to crack cases, especially hit-and-run cases,” said Superintendent of Police Jeevan Kumar Shrestha, who is also the spokesman for the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD), Ramshahapath.
In another hit-and-run case, a tipper truck killed two people on a motorcycle (Province 2- 03004 Pa 550) at Kalanki underpass. The truck (Ba 4 Kha 8579) fled the scene. But with the help of CCTV footage, it was traced to a garage in Dhading later the same day.
There have been several hit-and-runs where the culprits would surely have gotten away. But now the law sooner or later catches up with them, thanks to CCTV, say senior traffic police officials.
A total of 1,648 CCTV cameras have been installed at different points in the Valley so far. Kathmandu Metropolitan City has launched an aggressive campaign to install the surveillance cameras in partnership with the private sector and different social organizations since two years back.
CCTV cameras have also greatly helped traffic police apprehend traffic rule violators. In the current fiscal year alone, they have been able to take action against 7,376 drivers with the help of CCTV footage. Likewise, a total of 8,931 were booked last fiscal year.
More than 1,000 cameras were installed in the last two fiscal years. But the cameras are sometimes of low quality. “The CCTV cameras are not of international standard, and some do not even work. The video footage can also be affected by dust,” complained Senior Superintendent of Police Kiran Bajracharya at Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokharai.
At least 17,000 CCTV cameras should be installed in the Valley for proper surveillance, the officials say.
The police, meanwhile, need permission from the district administration office (DAO) to access the CCTV footage. Police turn to the local administration for access to CCTV footage if they are unable to crack a case through other means.
There may also be further red tape involved. SP Shrestha said, “Unlike in other countries, traffic police have to seek permission from various other authorities. For instance, if CCTV shows a motorcycle violating traffic rules, they need to approach the Department of Transport Management for the
particulars of the bike owner.” This makes the investigations cumbersome and slow.
In recent months, traffic police have been accessing CCTV footage aggressively to book those breaching traffic rules, including flouting lane discipline and ignoring zebra crossings.
The Metropolitan Traffic Police Division finds the contact details of the vehicle owners before inviting them to the traffic office to answer for the violations. If the driver ignores the summons, traffic police send the fine receipt to the driver’s address.