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Kerala govt agrees to allocate Rs 9.39 crore to Keltron for AI cameras installation

 Kerala High Court granted permission to the state government to pay the first installment of the 'Safe Kerala' project, which involves installing AI-enabled cameras for traffic surveillance, to the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd (Keltron)

Kerala govt agrees to allocate Rs 9.39 crore to Keltron for AI cameras installation rkn
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First Published Jan 4, 2024, 9:10 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: The state government decided to give Rs 9.39 crore to Keltron for installing AI cameras. Keltron had stopped sending the challan for fines as the payment has stopped from the government. Asianet News reported the other day that Keltron had given a letter to the government stating that if there is no money, the control rooms will be stopped.

The AI cameras have been imposing fines for violations detected by the cameras since June 5. The agreement was to pay the money spent by Keltron to install the camera once in three months in installments. As allegations of corruption were raised in the project, petitions demanding an investigation reached the High Court. Moreover, the cabinet decided to correct the errors in the first MoU and pay the money after signing the supplementary MoU. \

In September, the Kerala High Court granted permission to the state government to pay the first installment of the 'Safe Kerala' project, which involves installing AI-enabled cameras for traffic surveillance, to the Kerala State Electronics Development Corporation Ltd (Keltron). Following the opposition Congress party's legal action alleging widespread corruption in the project, the High Court had in June prohibited the government from paying any money to the state-owned corporation in connection with the project.

However, Keltron said they will not be able to move forward with the control rooms if the funding for the state's AI camera installation is not granted. Keltron notified the government of its firm position in a scenario where not even the initial payment for the installation of cameras was received. As of now, Keltron is funding the project entirely with its monthly expenditure of Rs 1 crore. The new cameras were placed on the road with great hype six months ago. Keltron claimed that they never received the first installment.

Keltron sent four letters to the government, asking for money. An amount of Rs 7 crore reportedly went unaccounted for in the operation of 14 control rooms, covering expenses such as salaries for 140 employees and associated costs. Keltron has now decided to cease the operation of these control rooms. Despite nominal challans being issued in the past two weeks, the decision on payment was pending during the former transport minister's month-long visit to Nava Kerala Sadas. The newly appointed Transport Minister, KB Ganesh Kumar, took immediate action on his first day in office, addressing the issue of outstanding payments to Keltron.

Keltron has informed the government that if the money is not paid immediately, the operation of the control rooms will not be able to proceed. According to Keltron, the camera project is being run using income from other projects. A high-powered committee under the department had recommended a month ago that out of the 726 cameras, only 692 are operational and accordingly Rs 9.39 crore is sufficient. 


 

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