With only 27 of 43 functional, CCTV cameras of little use at GMC Jammu

Harry Walia. Updated: 12/2/2019 3:43:52 AM Front Page

JAMMU: At a time when impetus is on round-the-clock electronic surveillance to keep crime in check, Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu does not have enough CCTV cameras, even as the ones installed are of little use.
“CCTV cameras have been installed at important locations of the hospital, such as exits, entries, etc. To ensure safety of patients, staff members, and expensive equipments, the number of cameras is indeed inadequate,” says Dr Dara Singh, Medical Superintendent, GMC&H Jammu.
As per the data accessed by The News Now, there a total of 43 CCTV cameras installed in the GMC&H premises, of which 27 are claimed to be functional.
The remaining cameras are either lying non-functional or have poor video quality.
“A letter has already been written to XEN Mechanical Department, the concerned authority, to procure more CCTV cameras,” remarks Dr Singh.
But, it is quite a long procedure until they actually get installed here in GMC.
An official source tells, “XEN Mechanical Department will forward the letter to the organization that supplies cameras; here, it is probably the SICOP. The organization then sends technical experts to know our requirements and identify locations where cameras are to be installed. Then an estimated budget proposal is made, which needs to get accord from the hospital administration. That is when the organization starts installing the cameras.”
Further, in the absence of proper maintenance and permanent record system, the installed cameras barely serve the purpose and provide meaningful footage.
“Cameras are frequently damaged by climatic actions and dust, affecting the video quality. Even the rats chew on their wires. Lately, camera network went off for two days under the effect of thundering and lightening. On Saturday only they were switched on. If someone asks for footage of those two days, hospital administration will have nothing to show,” says the official.
New CCTV cameras were last installed in the hospital over a year ago, that is when their number reached 43. As such, most of them are now out of warranty and will cost hospital administration quite a few bucks for their maintenance.
Another official source mentions, “It is difficult to say if these cameras are covered under the Annual Maintenance Contract. And if they are, it is the company which will be held accountable for the regular upkeep of CCTV cameras, wires and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs).”
Moreover, the installed visual recording system is in over-write mode, and, it will be of no help especially if the grievance is more than 10 days old.
“The installed cameras can record visuals for 10-12 days, then the initial point of recording automatically resets and visuals are overwritten – every single time. Thus, it is a temporary record,” the source says, adding that the hospital does not have a record room where it can save hundreds of storage disks for years.
High-Definition cameras would take a lot of storage space if the hospital starts permanent recording – that means more cost.
Meanwhile, Dr Singh raises a concern, “The need of the hour is to increase the purview of cameras, given the cases of thefts and the like. This being said, CCTVs can’t be installed at every location, given the privacy concerns.”

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