It took exactly a year for the state authorities to finally get moving on beefing up security at Seraikela divisional prison, which had witnessed a daring jailbreak last August. Nevertheless, a start has at least been made.
The prison authorities have drawn up a list of steps that will be taken to plug in the chinks in the security apparatus of the jail located in Seraikela-Kharsawan district.
The measures include constructing a high compound wall around the jail premises, installing CCTV cameras and setting up two armed pickets near the gate.
Jailer Baleswar Singh said security was being tightened in view of last year’s jailbreak and of course, because several hardcore Naxalites were lodged there.
“The undertrials, especially those arrested for Naxalite activities, always posed a security threat. As there is no high wall on the rear side of the jail, chances of inmates fleeing are more. Hence, the decision to set up a separate compound wall,” said the jailer.
He added that although three jammers had been installed on the premises, the electronic gadgets were not effective enough in blocking all signals.
“We are installing adequate number of CCTV cameras to keep an eye on the prisoners. We have started adding six CCTV cameras,” Singh said.
As for the armed police pickets, these have already come up on either side of the jail’s gate. “The pickets have been set up by Seraikela-Kharsawan district police,” the jailer said.
The Seraikela jail can accommodate 360 prisoners, but at present, houses over 700 inmates.
Though the jail authorities did not divulge the exact number of Naxalites lodged there due to security reasons, sources put it at 25, including five hardcore rebels.
Naxalite Balram Sahu alias David, who had masterminded the August 17, 2011, jailbreak and had fled with another rebel and four criminals only to be arrested again from Bihar on January 3 this year, has already been shifted to Hotwar Central Jail in Ranchi for security reasons.
At present, the Seraikela jail has no superintendent. While executive magistrate Ramchandra Bhagat is serving as in-charge of the jail, the overall responsibility is being shouldered by the jailer.