CCTV system defunct at Makkah Masjid

Hyderabad: The safety of thousands of tourists and namazis visiting the historic Makkah Masjid is in jeopardy as the huge security apparatus created at the 17th century mosque after the 2007 terrorist attack lies in a shambles with 23 CCTV cameras on the premises remaining non-functional.

As of now only six temporary cameras, installed by the city police at the entrance and some open spaces are functional. However, the major portion of the mosque including the main structure remains vulnerable. It has come to light that the cameras have remained non-functional for at least last six months now.

Even though the government sanctioned Rs 4 crore exclusively to carry out repairs at the mosque, the upgrading of apparatus with high definition CCTV cameras however still remains pending.

According to security officials at Makkah Masjid most of the CCTV cameras installed in 2008 could not generate quality video, hence a proposal was made to replace them with latest tech cameras. The authorities took up the issue and cancelled the old contract, which hampered the maintenance work of the earlier cameras.

Minority Welfare Department, which is responsible for the repair and maintenance, is yet to come up with a solution for the security inside the mosque. It was promised during the visit of Deputy CM Mohammed Mahmood Ali during Ramzan, the government would be taking up the task of revamping entire security mechanism, but it remained pending.

The temporary cameras are installed at the entrance, but not inside the mosque. “During Ramzan the work was not taken up for avoiding disturbance to namazis,” said one of the officials. The control room with all the equipment was part of the security scheme launched in 2008.

But since none of the cameras were working, the ‘control room’ remained locked all these days. “If anything suspected is there, the doors are opened for reviewing the video by security personnel,” added the official.

Recently, a team of experts visited the mosque to carry out repairs to the existing cameras, but it was not completed. A total of 25 security men and women, two police constables, 23 home guards (including four women) continuously guard the major tourist attraction close to Charminar. After the installation of CCTV cameras no major incident took place.

It is believed that even stone pelting near the mosque had been coming down during the last few years following installation of CCTVs. “The current cameras are substandard and huge money was being spent for maintaining them.

We have communicated the issue with the Minority Welfare Department through a letter. Currently, temporary cameras have been installed by us and they are being monitored round-the-clock. Tenders have been called for new HD cameras,” said the DCP.