Calangute: The state’s first smart street opened in Calangute on Monday with closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed to help police crack down on criminal elements so as to keep the tourists and locals safe.
An initiative of the Calangute panchayat, the smart street is a result of many complaints received by the panchayat of fights occurring in the street and incidents like drug peddling and snatching of bags being reported apart from beggars and touts harassing tourists in the street. The smart street was inaugurated by Minister for Ports and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo. Speaking during the function, Lobo said the locals have fully supported the initiative. Stating that the street has many locals, who run their businesses there, he said the initiative has been undertaken as a corporate social responsibility and that the government has not spent any money on the same.
Sarpanch of Calangute Dinesh Simepurushkar said many locals had complained to the panchayat about brawls taking place on the street, which is usually frequented by many tourists.
Informing about the smart street, the man behind the concept, panch member Shawn Martin, said the street where Club Titos, Goa’s famed nightclub, is also located witnesses many tourists and there was a need to make them feel safe.
He said the smart street has 16 CCTV cameras installed to discourage nefarious activities. Stating that the name of the area was getting tarnished due to the criminal activities taking place there, Martin said the CCTV cameras will now help police act tough against the anti-social elements. He said the cameras have been linked to a portal, which is connected to mobile phones. “This will help the Calangute police and traffic police keep a watch on the criminal activities going on in this lane,” he said.
Speaking further, Martin said the lane, which was earlier visited by many young people had lost its glory and there was a need to revive its vibrance. “As such, we came up with this idea and Shank Creation from Bengaluru was roped in. Shank Creation has undertaken many of such projects in Bengaluru and Hyderabad,” he said.
The smart street, which has a length of around 300 metres, will be illuminated with lights that keep changing colour. Solar blinkers have been installed on the road to provide safety to the traffic moving along the street. Around 30 digital signboards have also been installed to promote businesses of the locals. Apart from this, the street also has especially designed kiosks for the local vendors, who sell homemade food on the street. Wi-Fi has also been installed for the benefit of tourists. Shabby places in the street will be covered with posters.
Traffic police inspector Branden D’Souza said the idea of connecting the CCTV cameras to a portal will help the police to a great extent. “We will be able to monitor the traffic and the activities going on anywhere on the street from our mobile phone. This will keep the tourists safe and locals will get more business,” he said.