The SAD-BJP government’s reported decision to purchase surveillance equipments came under fire from the opposition on Sunday, which claimed that it could be misused to browbeat political opponents.

The government, however, maintained that buying such equipments was part of routine exercise keeping in mind security issues. As part of its state action plan for 2014-15, the Parkash Singh Badal-led Punjab government had earlier reportedly placed order for room bugs, button cameras and other equipments including digital voice recorders, audio-video surveillance equipment, heavy duty digital cameras, among others.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Adviser to Chief Minister on National Affairs, Harcharan Bains said the kind of security threats the country faces, governments of all states have to be well equipped to face challenges that come before it.

“Governments have to rely on it (surveillance equipments) for security considerations and Punjab being a border state we keep receiving various inputs from Government of India (on security threats),” he said.

“Even routinely police department need latest technologies for intelligence gathering apparatus. Its part of the routine exercise in building up state’s responses to threat to peace,” he added.

Punjab Congress President Pratap Singh Bajwa questioned the need of buying such equipments.

“…Whom are they trying to bug? Are they trying to find the officials who are corrupt? It (SAD-BJP) is the most corrupt government that India has ever seen after Independence,” Bajwa said.

“They are throwing crores of rupees into this kind of surveillance, just to browbeat the media and political opponents…people in Punjab know very well. This is the kind of government which cannot pay even old age pensions and on the other hand they are spending crores of rupees on buying these kinds of equipments,” he said.

Reacting to charges that surveillance equipments could be misused to browbeat political opponents, Bains said if the opposition can provide proof of misuse, they will look into it.

“There is no question of misuse. But if there are any instances of misuse and that allegation is based on evidence provided to us, then the government will surely look into it,” he said.


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Opposition slams Punjab govt over decision to buy surveillance equipments