A cloth merchant in Dilsukhnagar, T Ramesh, is willing to swap his ‘sethji’ role for a salaried job if someone is willing to employ him. “Enough of the trouble,” he says, scratching his head. Small retail cloth merchants in the City, who employ five to 10 salespersons, have been lately served a double whammy. On the one hand is the scare created by the blasts and the consequent lack of business, and on the other is the police pressure to set up CCTV, whose cost is to be borne by the merchants. Business has come to a standstill for the last two weeks due to heavy police presence. The Twin Cities have nearly 150 dealers of CCTV cameras, with 30 distributors and 50 offices, all working to full capacity. “The only business thriving in the City today is that of CCTV,” remarked Rajesh Mouli, a shop owner in Charminar. Mohd Nazeer Ahmed of Masabtank, a camera distributor, told Postnoon that the City gets cameras from Taiwan, Korea, China and Japan. “Day and night we are supplying cameras that cost between `1400 to `3500, which will cover a radius of up to 20 meters. There are cameras with higher capacity that costs between `8,000 and `1 lakh.” Nearly 10 to 15 varieties of cameras are available in the market, including local cameras.
Abdul Khader Bin Ahmed, a camera service man, said, in one big shop, four cameras are put up with digital video recording, worth `40,000. “After the blasts we had installed cameras in 20 offices, including the Yadgeer police commissioner’s office and Malakpet petrol pump. Now, schools and colleges too are demanding cameras.” The way police are pushing for CCTV in the pretext of security has given rise to suspicion that the police are getting a ‘cut’ from the business. “Or else, why are they forcing small merchants? How can they bear the extra costs when the market is already down?’ asks a young hardware merchant from Ameerpet. Police are dismissing the charges with disdain. Retired assistant commissioner of police Vazir Khan says cameras are essential today as cops can’t keep an eye on everyone. But the question that remains to be answered is that though cameras are good for tracing a culprits after the disaster, what about preventive measures?