In a relief to the ruling Left government in Kerala, the High Court here on Monday allowed it to pay Rs 11 as the first installment to state-run electronics company Keltron for installing and operating artificial intelligence (AI) cameras aimed at traffic detection. Allowed to make payment of more than Rs. crore. To reduce violations and road accidents.
A bench of Chief Justice AJ Desai and Justice VG Arun allowed the state to make the payment as the cameras have already been installed, they are working and challans have been issued.
“Considering the fact that cameras have already been installed by the concerned respondents (Keltron and other private companies) which are working and challans have been issued, we release the first installment of Rs 11,799 crore to the state authorities. ₹11,440 in favor of Keltron. The said release should be subject to the outcome of further orders to be passed in the present writ petition,” the bench said.
The order comes as a relief to the state government as the court had on June 20 ordered it not to make any financial payment as part of the AI camera project without seeking an explanation from it or until further orders.
The order came on a petition by two Congress leaders – Leader of Opposition in the Assembly V D Satheesan and Ramesh Chennithala – seeking cancellation of the approval given to install cameras under the Safe Kerala initiative.
The petitioners have challenged the orders issued by the LDF government regarding the installation and operation of AI cameras across the state, alleging ‘illegality, nepotism, favoritism and corruption’ in the award of contracts under the project and its implementation.
They have sought cancellation of the administrative approval and blanket administrative clearance given to the project ‘Automated Traffic Enforcement System for Safe Kerala’.
His petition also demands the court to declare that SRIT India Pvt. Ltd., which was awarded the work contract by state-run Keltron, was ineligible to participate in the tender process as they had no expertise in traffic signal monitoring and did not meet the conditions in the tender document.
The petitioners also wanted the service level agreement between the Department of Motor Vehicles and Keltron, the letter of intent issued to SRIT and the agreement between Keltron and the private company to be declared illegal and cancelled.
Besides this, they have also sought a court-monitored investigation into the project and its implementation.
Chennithala and other Congress leaders have been alleging that the Left government had committed some irregularities in awarding the tender to SRIT for setting up the fully automated traffic enforcement system.
The Kerala government had signed an agreement with Keltron for this project in 2020.
In April this year, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had inaugurated the ‘Safe Kerala’ project, which included the installation of AI cameras to reduce road accidents and traffic violations in the state.