The installation of AI cameras on the national and state highways of Kerala has been a topic of discussion for many on the internet. After implementing the system, there have been numerous reports where the cameras have issued incorrect challans to riders and drivers. The Motor Vehicle Department has admitted that there are some issues and is currently working on resolving them. Last week, in Kerala’s Wayanad district, a Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) jeep that was carrying a picker pole to cut leaves and branches leaning on an electric line was fined Rs 20,500. A week after this incident, the KSEB disconnected the electricity connection from the MVD office in Wayanad’s Kalpetta.
The video has been uploaded by Manorama News on their YouTube channel. Several reports suggest that the KSEB department might have disconnected the connection from the Motor Vehicle Department office as revenge for the challan that was issued to them. However, the department has not responded to these allegations. Last week, a KSEB jeep was fined by an AI camera for carrying a pole that they usually use as a picker to cut leaves and branches leaning onto the electricity cables.
KSEB does this from time to time in order to avoid any issues in the power supply or short circuits. The AI camera is a new addition to the road, and the system has not been programmed to recognize this as an offense. The camera had identified two violations: it issued a Rs 20,000 fine for carrying the pole and a Rs 500 fine to the driver for not wearing a seatbelt. A few days after the incident, the KSEB disconnected the electricity connection to the building where MVD’s Enforcement department operates. KSEB stated that the department had not paid the bill, which is the reason why the connection was disconnected.
In normal cases, buildings in which government departments operate are given an extension if they fail to pay the bill within the due date. The same building where MVD is operating also serves as a database center for AI cameras. After the connection was cut, the MVD acted quickly, took the amount from the emergency fund, and paid the electricity bill. The connection was restored after the payment was made. The report also mentions that after the fine was issued, both departments negotiated, and the Rs 20,000 fine for the pole was cancelled. Only the Rs 500 fine for not wearing the seatbelt was issued.
This is not the first time we have come across news like this. Last year, in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly, an electricity board lineman took revenge for receiving a challan by cutting the power supply to the police station. AI cameras were installed on Kerala roads as part of the Safe Kerala Project, with the main aim being to reduce the number of road accidents and violations. The camera had also wrongly detected a speed of 1240 kmph for a motorcycle recently. There are currently several issues with the system, and the department has appointed control rooms to manually review the pictures taken by AI cameras before issuing challans.