Bhubaneswar, Nov. 12: In view of growing Maoist threats to jails across the state, the government has decided to strengthen security of all jails. Nearly 23 platoons of additional police force will be deployed for the purpose.
“We are going to fortify 32 jails. Of these, fortification of 18 jails will be completed very soon and the remaining 14 jails will be completed by December 2010,” said inspector-general of police, prisons, Pranabindu Acharya.
With a number of Maoists being lodged in the sensitive Raygada and Malkangiri districts jails, the state government has decided to install close circuit TV (CCTV) in these two jails. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik also held a meeting to take stock of jail security across the state.
Video conferencing facilities, which is restricted to Choudwar, Berhampur and Jharpada jails, will be extended to Baripada, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Koraput and Balangir jails. “This will not only reduce expenditure but also threat perception. We don’t have to take out criminals for court appearances. Hearings can be conducted from jails through video-conferencing,” said a jail official.
The government has also decided to install jammers in five more jails. “With the installation of jammers, crime activities can be regulated to a great extent. Jammer facilities have already been installed in Choudwar and Jharapada jails. There have been allegations that incarcerated criminals operate using mobile phones,” he said.
The state government has decided to establish a “second open jail” at Jujumara in Sambalpur, which is also a Maoist-hit district. The first open jail is functioning at Jamjhari on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. “A prison academy will also be set up at Jamjhari,” officials said.
The state government also decided to accord district jail status to sub-jails of Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Jharsuguda, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrak, Jajpur, Deogarh, Baragarh, Parlakhemeundi, Sonepur, Boudha, Nuapada, Kendrapada, Khurda and Nayagarh districts.
In all, 86 jails are operating under the four circles jails of the state — Baripada, Berhampur, Choudwar and Sambalpur. To ensure good administration, the government has decided to create a new jail circle at Koraput. As many as 17 jails will operate under the new circle.
Additional district collectors and sub-collectors have been empowered to conduct raids on any jail to check drug peddling.
Director general of police Manmohan Praharaj, home secretary U.N. Behera and senior jail officials attended the chief minister’s review meeting.