It is no longer an option. For private establishments that attract crowds over 100 persons at a time, it is now mandatory to have closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras and access control measures in place.

The A.P. Public Safety (Measures) Enforcement Bill, that was passed in the A.P. Legislative Assembly on Tuesday evening, makes it compulsory for all private establishments to do their bit for public safety by installing CCTV cameras at entrance/exit points, including parking lots. Access control steps such as door-frame and hand-held metal detectors and personnel to frisk visitors are also included in the Bill.

Walkout by TDP

The passage of the Bill was marked by a walkout by members of the main Opposition, the Telugu Desam, on the ground that it was piloted by a “tainted” Minister. The walkout drew flak from Congress members who accused them of being “callous” by not participating in the discussion on a legislation that concerned public safety. Major Industries Minister J. Geetha Reddy, who piloted the Bill as she has been entrusted the Home portfolio for the Assembly session, termed the TDP’s response as “shameful” and said it only showed them in poor light. She said the Bill entailed installation of an estimated 5,000 CCTV cameras in private establishments in 19 municipalities and corporations in the State.

Avoid harassment

Several MLAs from the Opposition parties supported the Bill and urged the government to ensure that the rules were framed in such a manner as to avoid harassment of private establishments by police officials. Vanga Geetha (Congress) and Christine Lazarus (Nom.) welcomed the Bill and said there was every need for laws that would ensure greater protection to women.