A few years ago, the Arvind Kejriwal government’s installation of CCTV cameras in the national capital was touted as a groundbreaking measure for citizen security, with the Aam Aadmi Party claiming credit. Surprisingly, around 150 km east of Delhi, Purkazi, a small Nagar Panchayat in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, had already accomplished this feat under the banner of “Purkazi’s Enhancing Community Safety.”
Zaheer Farooqui’s Vision: Implementing I.P C.C.T.V Cameras
Situated 150 km east of Delhi, Purkazi, with an 80% Muslim population, took a proactive step in 2018. Zaheer Farooqui, the Chairman of the Nagar Panchayat, spearheaded the installation of I.P C.C.T.V Cameras, which are capable of reading vehicle number plates. Placed strategically throughout the town, these cameras played a pivotal role in criminal apprehension and were positioned at all entry and exit points.
Realizing the Impact: A Safer Town and Swift Justice
The effectiveness of this initiative became evident when the Muzaffarnagar Police, utilizing camera footage, apprehended a criminal from Uttarakhand who had assaulted a six-year-old Dalit girl near Purkazi. Beyond security, the cameras contributed to creating a safer environment for women, with the added feature of loudspeakers for central audio announcements, disseminating government policies and emergency alerts.
Empowering Women: Purkazi’s Fitness Revolution
Breaking Traditions: Women’s Gymnasium Transformation
In 2019, the Nagar Panchayat, supported by government funds, established a women’s gym in Purkazi. The gym flourished despite initial scepticism in a town where women were traditionally kept in purdah. Shaheen Usmani, the trainer, notes the positive impact on women’s reproductive health, with the gym boasting nearly a hundred members today.
Redirecting Youth Energies: Success of the Men’s Gym
Simultaneously, on the other side of town, the Panchayat opened a men’s gym, effectively curbing drug indulgence among the youth. Nadeem Tyagi highlights its success, particularly in aiding young villagers preparing for military and police service, offering nominal fees and free access for the underprivileged.
Shaping Tradition: Purkazi’s Unique Gaushala Initiative
Dispelling stereotypes, Purkazi utilized government funds earmarked for gaushala (Cow Shelter) differently. Rather than neglecting or establishing small shelters, the town claimed fame for building the country’s first double-storeyed government-owned gaushala.
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