Diwali rush, but CCTV, metal detectors don’t work in Delhi markets


New Delhi : Claims of Delhi Police to provide foolproof security in markets during Diwali festivities appear hollow as closed circuit TV cameras and metal detectors in some of the major markets in the national capital are non-functional.

Support TwoCircles

Diwali, one of India’s biggest festivals, is round the the corner and markets like the one in Sarojini Nagar is teeming with enthusiastic shoppers all through the day. But none of the 27 CCTV cameras that are supposed to monitor this busy market are functional.

Sarojini Nagar was one of three crowded places in Delhi which was torn apart by bomb blasts just two days before Diwali on Oct 29, 2005. The blast killed more than 40 people and injured many others.

While the scars of that day are still raw, the security system in the market four years after the blast is lax.

According to a police official stationed near the market, none of the 27 CCTV cameras is functional.

“The company which supplied the CCTV cameras was not paid, therefore they took the matter to the Delhi high court. Now the case is pending in the court and the cameras are non-functional,” the police official told IANS.

Ashok Randhawa, president of Sarojini Nagar Mini Market Traders Association, told IANS: “The CCTV cameras have not been working for the past one-and-a-half years and we have roped in 40 private security guards to keep a vigil in the market.

“Shopkeepers have also been told to remain alert and keep an eye on suspicious people. We are trying our best to avoid any untoward incident.”

The Sarojini Nagar market association has written to Delhi Police several times in this regard but nothing has happened.

“As the CCTV cameras in the market are not working we have deployed extra police force for vigilance,” Delhi Police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat told IANS.

The security arrangements looked inadequate in other famous markets too – Pahar Ganj, Lajpat Nagar, Janpath and Karol Bagh – where metal detector frames were lying defunct.

“There are no proper security arrangements in the market and even metal detectors placed at the entry points are non-functional. The markets are so crowded due to Diwali celebrations and anything can happen,” said Vipin Verma, a resident of Lajpat Nagar.

However, Bhagat said: “We have taken stringent safety and security measures for Diwali celebrations. In all the crowded markets in the capital CCTV cameras are being installed, reaction teams are deployed to respond quickly to any untoward incident.

“Police personnel in plain clothes, PCR vans and extra police forces are being deployed in the capital to ensure foolproof security.”