Baramulla, Jan 6: At a time when the J&K administration is determined to put a stop on the menace of corruption, the installation of CCTV cameras in the government departments with a large public interface is still a distant dream.
Last year in July, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) caught red-handed Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE), Rural Development Department (RDD), Baramulla accepting a bribe in his office.
The same month, the ACB in another incident trapped incharge AEE and works supervisor of R&B, electric sub division north Baramulla for demanding and accepting bribe.
A Junior Assistant and an orderly of Tehsil office Baramulla were arrested for demanding and accepting bribe from a client for settlement of his case pending for disposal with the Tehsil office Baramulla.
Months after the successful operation by the ACB in Baramulla district, all these offices are still not equipped with CCTV cameras, which shows that efforts to eradicate corruption need a much more holistic approach.
“The installation of CCTV cameras in the government departments will have a detrimental effect on corruption,” said Muhammad Ashraf of Baramulla town. “Besides, CCTV cameras can also prove a great deal in checking the employees accountability,” he said.
In Baramulla town, where major government offices are located, most of these offices are without CCTV cameras.
These offices include Block Development Office, RDD office, Treasury, Tehsil Office, R&B, Jal Shakti Department, RTO, PDD, Forest, Revenue Department, and Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Department.
“There must be close monitoring and surveillance of all such government offices which has large public interface,” said Abdul Rasheed, a member of civil society Baramulla. “It will at least ensure transparency in the offices besides resulting in cordial relations between the employee and the client.”
In the past, anti-graft bodies had given recommendations for installation of CCTV cameras in the government offices, especially where public footfall is more.
However, there has been no forward movement in this direction so far.
People believe that the administration should at least ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in those departments of which anti-graft agencies often receive complaints of corruption.
Furthermore, several government offices are housed in private accommodations.
Such departments too need to be equipped with CCTV cameras.
A senior official in the anti-graft agency said that though installation of CCTV cameras would not eradicate corruption completely from the society, its use would definitely decrease the menace.
“Besides demanding and accepting bribe, there are touts roaming outside such offices. In some cases we have apprehended these touts. The installation of CCTV cameras will generate fear among the corrupt officials and recording of events too will prove beneficial for the investigating agencies,” he said.