J&K police are planning to secure two stretches of national highways, spread over 400 km in the state, by installing a CCTV surveillance system. A plan was recently shared by the J&K Police headquarters, with the two Inspectors General of Police (Kashmir and Jammu) seeking their inputs on the proposal.
As per the letter, the CCTV system will cover National Highway 1-A, starting from Lakhanpur (the entry point from Punjab) to Srinagar (a distance of around 370 km). The other component is to cover the highway from Srinagar to Sonamarg (around 80 km).
Advisor (Home) to J&K Governor, K Vijay Kumar, confirmed that the police are planning to install CCTV surveillance system on the highway and at the district headquarters in the state. He said “there is a need for the system” and that “discussions regarding the proposals have happened before”. Officials in Srinagar believe both highways are crucial for the security forces because of the regular movement of convoys. The Jammu-Srinagar highway is also important because of the annual movement of Amarnath pilgrims
The Srinagar- Sonamarg highway leads to the base camp of the Amarnath pilgrimage and also to Leh, which is strategically important to the Army’s 14 Corps, which looks after the LoC and LAC, and is headquartered there. A senior official said that the proposal regarding the CCTVs was shared with the zonal IGPs after the Ministry of Home Affairs allocated additional funds in view of “rising” militant attacks on security forces in the state. “The proposal was shared to get the inputs from the concerned IGs,” the official said. The communication by the police headquarters has also mentioned that there would be a CCTV system, including for facial recognition, in all the districts of the state.
A senior police officer said that a CCTV surveillance system is highly required. “At present, we don’t have any full CCTV coverage on the highway. Through a security point of view, it is going to be very helpful,” said the officer, adding that the police have installed CCTV system at the entry and exit points of various cities. A senior security officer said that the CCTV coverage on the highway is “inadequate” at present. “Due to the strategic location of a highway, it always is an easy target. So we definitely need the CCTV system, especially in the Kashmir Valley,” said the officer.