In a bid to curb pilferage in loading, transporting and distribution of food grains and kerosene, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA) Department has taken a revolutionary step by building state of the art surveillance system.
With a casual glance the officer incharge of the surveillance comes to know about the latest situation in all godowns situated in the vicinity of his office. The monitor also reveals the work going on at other three godowns of the Department, situated in Gulab Bagh area.
The monitor is just one part of complex surveillance system at “Command Control Room” (CC Room), originally conceived by FCS&CA Minister Choudhary Zulfkar Ali.
“The main idea behind establishing the new surveillance system is to plug all the loop holes in the entire distribution process,” the Minister said.
He added that the strict monitoring would help in building a clean image for the department. For establishing the surveillance system, the FCS&CA Kashmir hired the services of a private IT firm, Apprentice Technology.
“The surveillance system is divided in two phases. In the first phase 12 surveillance cameras were installed at the Directorate, FCS&CA Kashmir and at three go-downs in Gulab Bagh,” says Midhat Andrabi, Director Apprentice-Technology. He said that all the cameras are connected through optical fiber.
Although, the Minister had suggested that two separate surveillance centers’ should be established simultaneously in both the divisions of the State, however, FCS&CA Kashmir took the lead in this direction by starting the initial phase of their surveillance system on July 19. The second one is likely to follow soon.
Inaugurating the first phase of CC Room in Kashmir division, Choudhary Zulfkar Ali attributed it as a “big step towards ensuring transparency” in the functioning of the department.
He however, urged upon the officers for not being complacent and directed to start work on phase two of the project immediately.
“FCS&CA is a vast department with over 6000 employees and everyone here puts in their hard work to serve their consumers. Still sometimes due to a few unscrupulous elements reports of some sort of pilferage of food grains and kerosene deprive the department from receiving the appreciation it deserves.
We want to stop this pilferage at all levels- from loading at godown to transporting to food outlets and finally to distribution, there should be if not zero at least something near to zero pilferage,” said the Minister.
The division under the leadership of their Director Nisar Ahmad Wani immediately has already started work on the second and final phase of the surveillance project.
The second phase would see the installation of cameras in go downs in all the districts of the State. Besides, the cameras would also be installed at the go down of Food Corporation of India (FCI) in Lethpora.
The surveillance cameras would also be installed in all the Fair Price Shops (FPSs) and connected with the main Control room. It would allow the monitoring team to check the distribution process at these stores without any glitch.
The Department is also hiring private vehicles with GPRS fitted on them so that they could be connected with the Command Control Room at Directorate.
“We have floated tenders to hire private vehicles for transportation of food grains. However, we have put up a clause that the interested parties are required to ensure that the vehicles they provide should have GPRS system fitted on them,” reveals Nisar Ahmad Wani, Director, FCS&CA, and Kashmir.
“These GPRS fitted vehicles would be connected with our Command Control Room so that we keep a continuous track of their route after they leave our godown carrying food grains and kerosene,” Nisar adds. The department is using latest technology to integrate the entire set up.
“The entire set up of all cameras fitted in all godowns and Fair Price Shops in all the districts of the division and, the GPRS fitted on all vehicles would be integrated with Directorate, Kashmir office Command Control Room through Hi-Tech Wireless technology (long range technology),” says, IT expert, Midhat Andrabi.
“The purpose of using micro-wave technology (long range technology) is to enable uninterrupted connectivity over long distances with the main Command Control Room at the Directorate Office,” Midhat explains.
As suggested by the Minister, the Department would make a “video wall” by installing a giant 8ft X 6ft TV screen which would be flashing video footage coming from across the division.
The establishment of entire project would cost around 40 lakhs for which the Minister while inaugurating the first phase has already directed the concerned to release half of the payment to the department and assured for the release of the rest soon.
Reiterating the need for having a good team to continuously monitor the footage coming to the system, the Minister said mere installing the surveillance cameras and establishing a Control Command room would be of no use if we do not have a dedicated staff to monitor the footage coming through in the control room.
Taking cognizance of the advice the FCS&CA Kashmir has formulated a dedicated team from the department who are working in shifts and are continuously monitoring the activities whatever information is coming through from the 12 cameras installed in the first phase. (PTK)