The Punjab caretaker government has greenlit a groundbreaking safe city project in Rawalpindi to enhance security in Rawalpindi by installing 350 Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras for Rs10 billion. Scheduled to commence in January next year, the ambitious initiative aims to bolster surveillance capabilities across the garrison city.
Details of the Safe City Project in Rawalpindi
Officials involved in the project have indicated that it will take approximately one year to complete. The strategically positioned cameras will be interconnected to a centralized control room established at the City Police Officer’s office, providing real-time monitoring capabilities.
Originally, the plan envisaged deploying over 450 CCTV cameras; however, a recent survey led to the decision to optimize the installation of 350 cameras on various roads and squares throughout Rawalpindi. Locations already covered by law enforcement agency cameras will be excluded from the new project.
The provincial caretaker government granted approval for the project during a cabinet meeting in October, following a request to the Election Commission of Pakistan in August for necessary permissions. The cameras are slated to be placed in critical areas, including markets, mosques, railway stations, and entry/exit points of Rawalpindi.
Sensitive infrastructure such as key bridges, police stations, prisons, and courts will also benefit from surveillance under this initiative. The optical fiber network supporting these cameras will be laid underground for enhanced durability and efficiency.
The Punjab Information Technology Board is tasked with installing all the cameras, and upon completion, the project will be handed over to the Safe City Authority. Similar to Lahore’s Safe City Project, the Rawalpindi initiative will integrate with the traffic management system to enforce rules and issue e-challans to traffic violators.
Safe City Project in Rawalpindi Cost
Commissioner Liaquat Ali Chattha confirmed the total cost of the project at Rs10 billion, emphasizing its pivotal role in managing law and order, especially during religious events and cricket matches. This comprehensive project is expected to save costs, as the district administration currently rents CCTV cameras for specific events. The commissioner justified the need for this mega project, citing the necessity of new technology to cope with the increasing population and provide enhanced civic facilities.
Initially budgeted at Rs23 billion, the expenses and the number of CCTV cameras were rationalized, resulting in a significant cost reduction. The control room will be established at the CPO office, serving as a consolidated hub for integrated policing, regulating swift emergency responses, intelligent traffic management, dispatch of Punjab police, PRU, and Dolphin Force, along with 1122 emergency response, criminal identification/investigations, and virtual surveillance.
Given the success of a similar surveillance project in the neighboring federal capital, the Rawalpindi initiative is poised to contribute significantly to improving law and order in conjunction with its counterpart. Following Rawalpindi, the caretaker government plans to launch a similar project in Murree.