MVD vs KSEB: AI camera fight escalates in Kerala as KSEB disconnects power from more MVD offices

The recently installed AI cameras on Kerala roads have become a topic of discussion for many. It seems that the newly implemented challan system has sparked a battle between two government departments in Kerala. Last week, we wrote about an incident in which the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) disconnected the electricity connection to the Enforcement Road Transport Office (RTO) in Kalpetta, Wayanad. It is said that KSEB disconnected the electricity connection after an AI camera issued a challan to a KSEB jeep that was carrying a picker pole on the roof. The conflict between these departments seems to have escalated to a higher level, as we are now witnessing similar incidents from different districts of the state.

MVD vs KSEB: AI camera fight escalates in Kerala as KSEB disconnects power from more MVD offices
KSEB vs MVD battle

At the time of writing this article, the score between the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) and KSEB stands at 2-4. In the first case, neither KSEB officials nor MVD responded to the action, and it was not considered a retaliatory act by MVD. The Enforcement RTO building in Kalpetta had a pending electricity bill of Rs 11,000, and KSEB simply disconnected the power for non-payment. The RTO promptly paid the bill from the emergency fund, and the connection was restored. The district’s AI camera operations are monitored from the same office.

Following this incident, KSEB disconnected the electricity supply to the Mattanur Enforcement RTO in Kannur district. This office had an outstanding bill of Rs 52,000. This action by KSEB had an impact on the operations of the AI cameras and the charging of electric vehicles used by MVD.

MVD vs KSEB: AI camera fight escalates in Kerala as KSEB disconnects power from more MVD offices

On June 30, KSEB also disconnected the supply to the Kasargod Enforcement RTO due to a pending electricity bill of Rs 23,000. While KSEB has not commented on these actions, a pattern is apparent. It seems that the department is specifically targeting RTOs where the AI cameras are being monitored.

Soon after the first case, Kerala State Transport Minister Antony Raju clarified the situation and criticized MVD for issuing a challan to the KSEB jeep. Antony Raju criticized MVD’s action and stated that emergency vehicles were exempt from the AI cameras’ jurisdiction. The minister emphasized that the fine against the jeep was a mistake on MVD’s part. Before implementing the AI cameras, the government had released a circular exempting emergency vehicles and vehicles used by state ministers from the system.

There are even reports suggesting that the actual cause of the conflict between these two departments is the KSEB officials’ failure to wear proper riding helmets while working in the field. They often use industrial safety helmets in yellow, which is a violation while riding a two-wheeler. There have been instances where AI cameras have fined KSEB officers for this issue as well. The installation of AI cameras on Kerala roads is part of the Safe Kerala Project, with the primary goal of reducing road accidents and violations. A total of 726 AI cameras have been installed in various parts of the state. The state has allocated over Rs. 232 crore from the funds of the Kerala Road Traffic Authority for this project.

Image via: India Today