A tower which is equipped with 2G jammers inside Ghaghidih Central Jail in Jamshedpur. A 3G handset was found inside the jail during a raid last month. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Jamshedpur, Sept. 16: The state prison authorities have sent a proposal to the home department for installing 3G jammers in all the 26 jails of Jharkhand following a survey by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL).
Although the jails are equipped with 2G jammers, the instruments meant to block relay of signals to the mobile phones have not served the purpose with prisoners switching to 3G phones.
IG (prisons) Shiv Shankar Tiwary told The Telegraph: “We have sent the proposal to the home department, which will place the proposal for a cabinet nod. Once the cabinet approves it, the tender process will begin.”
Tiwary said ECIL had surveyed the state prisons, including five central jails, for installing 3G jammers soon after 2G jammers were installed in 2010.
Despite complaints that 2G jammers malfunctioned, the prison department delayed in going ahead with the move to install the 3G gadgets
“We spent a considerable amount of time in repairing defunct jammers. We are also not satisfied with the services of ECIL, with whom the state government had signed an MoU for maintaining the jammers. We decided to forward the proposal for installation of advanced technology jammers only after the existing ones were set right,” said Tiwary.
The authorities plan to install the jammers in phases.
Tiwary said that initially the central jails would be equipped with 3G jammers, followed by divisional and sub-divisional jails.
The prison department is serious about installing the devices at the back of feedback from jail staff suggesting that convicts and undertrials take advantage of the absence of a foolproof system for blocking mobile phone signals.
“Though the administrations pay utmost attention to prevent the inmates from smuggling cellphones into the jails, in most prisons they somehow manage to obtain 3G mobile sets keep in touch with their aides outside. With no system in place to block 3G signals in jails, whether the 2G jammers work or not does not matter to inmates,” Tiwary admitted.
During a surprise raid last month, district officials and police had recovered a 3G handset and three SIM cards lying abandoned outside one of the 13 wards in Ghaghidih Central Jail.
Inmates usually take advantage of lack of proper checking of food brought to them by their relatives or associates. Mobile phones, chargers and SIM cards kept in tiffin boxes are sneaked in easily.