All Navi Mumbai civic schools to get CCTV cameras in this financial year: NMMC
Police ask schools to hire guards from certified agencies, keep record of visitors
After the alleged rape of a nine-year-old girl inside the toilet of her school in Vashi last week, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has decided to install CCTV cameras at all civic schools run by them. The task will be finished by end of this financial year, a senior officer said.
Installation of CCTV cameras in school premises was the topic of discussion in the satellite city last after the alleged rape of a minor girl came to light.
The girl said that an unidentified person took her to a toilet by covering her mouth with a handkerchief when she was entering her school and raped her inside it.
The private school had no CCTV camera and hence the police have not been able collect concrete evidences against anyone.
After the incident, parents had also staged a protest and asked the school authorities to install CCTV cameras on the premises.
Ramaswamy N, commissioner of NMMC, said, “At beginning of this financial year, we had decided to install CCTV cameras on the premises of our schools. The project is in tendering process. We can say that all civic schools in the city will be under CCTV surveillance by end of this financial year.”
NMMC runs a total of 70 schools of which 53 are primary and 17 are secondary schools.
When asked about the number of cameras each school will get, Ramaswamy said, “Individual surveys will be conducted at each school and the number of required cameras will be decided based on that. We will ensure the entire premises is covered.”
Meanwhile, the city police are sending notices to private schools to take precautionary measures to ensure safety of students on the premises.
Installation of CCTV cameras was one of the measures mentioned in the notice.
Sudhakar Pathare, deputy commissioner of police (zone 1), said, “Apart from installing such cameras, we have asked the schools to hire guards from certified security agencies. They should also keep record of people who enter their compound.”
“Likewise, the school authorities should preserve the CCTV feed for a longer time as it may help in investigations,” he said.
When asked if the police would take action if schools do not follow the guidelines, Pathare said, “We cannot take any action under Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure or the Mumbai Police Act. The education department of NMMC will have to the action.”
Activists and parents of civic school students are happy with the civic body’s decision.
Parshuram Rumale, 42, a parent of a child who studies in the Vashi school where the minor was raped, said, “When a school has CCTV cameras, miscreants normally get scared to enter its compound. Every school should install such cameras.”
Ramesh Bhagat, 39, a parent of a child who studies in a Nerul school, said, “Apart from cases like sexual assault, parents allege that kids are beaten up by teachers . If every classroom has CCTV cameras, there will never be such confusion.”
Sudhir Dani, 50, an education activist, said children’s safety is more important than analysis of the existing rules.
“If something goes wrong inside the school, it’s bad for the school too. Therefore, the schools should take it as their moral responsibility to install CCTV cameras,” said Dani.
Father S Almeida, principal of Father Agnel Multipurpose School and Junior College, Vashi, said, “We have installed CCTV cameras on the entire premises. They are monitored from the principal’s room. It’s not easy for a student to go out of the premises during school hours.”
“We also keep conducting workshops for our staff and ask them to treat the students with right manners. Thus, within our parameter, we have taken all precautionary measures. However it’s tough to say that nothing can happen,” he said.
An official from St Xavier’s School in Nerul said, “Lack of fund cannot be an excuse for not having CCTV surveillance. We have installed cameras everywhere and a student has to pay just Rs14 more for the security.”
First Published: Sep 09, 2018 00:58:53