Oman


Majlis and Royal Oman Police differ on installation of hidden cameras


For illustrative purpose only. Photo - Shutterstock

Muscat: Members of the Majlis Al Shura have urged the authorities not to install hidden cameras on the roads, meant to catch offending drivers.

A member of the Majlis Al Shura who raised the issue during the regular session held on Tuesday asked the authorities to reconsider the issue while making amendments to the upcoming traffic law.

Though as of now, there are no hidden cameras, the member has asked to exclude these altogether in the amended new law.

"The radar must be clearly visible to the motorists on the roads," the member said.

The issue of hidden cameras along the roads was raised by the Majlis Al Shura member while discussing the amendments to the traffic law.

 "The members urged the Legal Committee in the Majlis Al Shura to allocate an article to regulate the hidden camera issue and see that it doesn't become a reality on the Sultanate's roads," said the member.

Though the Royal Oman Police has installed cameras at traffic signals in the capital city to catch any traffic offenders, some cameras were allegedly installed at random places to control speeding motorists.

Recently, a picture of a camera hidden in the trees was circulated on social media, leading to ire among citizens. Explaining the situation, the ROP tweeted, saying, "The camera in the photo, hidden among the trees, was not installed by the ROP but was an individual's action."

The ROP added in the tweet that a competent authority was investigating the issue and will penalise the offender.

The new cameras installed at the traffic junctions in Muscat have helped reduce road accidents by 50 per cent, an official source at the ROP pointed out.

"Cameras have many uses and have been installed as these can record traffic offenders, but more importantly, they provide us with vital information," said an ROP official during a recent interview to a radio channel.

He also said that there are signboards indicating the speed limit for each road which the driver must adhere to.

While discussing the traffic laws, Majlis Al Shura asked for articles 14 and 33 to be reviewed. According to articles 1, residents must seek the approval of the ROP traffic division before changing colour or chassis of the car and also inform within 10 days after the change is done. Article 33 refers to parking of cars in public places.

Majlis okays budget
During the session, Majlis Al Shura also approved the budget for the fiscal year 2014 that was forwarded by the Administrative and Financial Secretariat of the Majlis. Majlis Al Shura discussed the Public Authority of Consumer Protection (PACP) price control issue. It lauded the efforts of the PACP in monitoring the prices of the products in the market, thus ensuring stability.

Majlis Al Shura discussed the report of the Food and Water Security Committee of the Majlis regarding the agricultural Najd area and its usefulness in achieving food and water security in Oman.

They informed that the Cabinet Council had approved the proposal of Majlis Al Shura of changing the job title of "cleaners" to "service employee" which aims to change the perception about the job profile of these employees.  Majlis Al Shura will continue its discussions on Tuesday.

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ROP should be praised for its efforts in controlling over-speeding. In fact, If hidden cameras are installed, it would be better. Sometimes, the drivers control speed at the sight of visible radars and thereafter again over-speed. Hence, there should be no hesitation to install hidden cameras. They will help in checking over-speeding drivers.