LAHORE: The provincial capital will become the first safe city of not only Pakistan, but also South Asia in 2018.
According to the Punjab Safe City Authority (PSCA), the Lahore Safe City Project, launched in May 2016, was designed to ensure the security and protection of the people whereas an intelligent traffic management system, anti-terrorism monitoring network, integrated emergency response, modern communication system and other features were introduced under the project for the first time in the history of the country.
The project includes the use of a face identification software, number-plate identification software and a mobile command centre for public gatherings and other purposes, while a number of administrative changes have also been brought at the police level through the project.
In this regard, police communication officers were recruited under the project while the data collected by the safe city authority is being used for research at the university level.
Provincial departments, including the respective departments of transport, environment, waste management, traffic engineering and railway police are fully cooperating to make Lahore a safe city.
International observers have said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) was able to convince the international players to visit the country because of the safe city project. International experts from Australia, England and Germany while accepting the importance of the project have said that Lahore will soon be transformed into a safe city, for which the Punjab chief minister deserves full appreciation.
The police response time through modern technology is being improved to 15 minutes, whereas the technology installed by the safe city authority will help policymakers and operational commanders for decision making in crucial situations.
Through expected reforms in the Lahore security profile, not only the cost of businesses will be reduced, but foreign investments will also be encouraged due to the improving security conditions.
More than 7,000 cameras have been installed all over Lahore to look after the security of citizens, while the work is in progress to install the remaining cameras. The project cost is about Rs13.5 billion, say the project authorities.
The Lahore safe city project is four times larger than the already operational Islamabad safe city project, and the government now aims to take the safe city project to other cities of Punjab, including Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Multan, Bahawalpur, Gujranwala, and Faisalabad.
Security cameras have also been installed on vehicles that would be supporting the command and control centre in surveillance of the city against any acts of organised crime, terror, and sabotage.
The safe city authority has also introduced an Android application for digital challans and automatic number-plate recognition, through which traffic wardens are now able to issue tickets through android cellphones. The excise department’s data of vehicles, ownership, national identity card numbers, license numbers and other will also be included in this application soon.
Another Android application called the Women Safety Smartphone Application, for the protection of women has also been introduced by the PSCA.
The application can be installed on android cellphones through which help and assistance will be provided to the women by the Dolphin Force. Women can also call 15 – police helpline – to register complaints in case of any danger or threat.