Mind it jailbirds, you will be closely watched.
Jharkhand’s prison mandarins have, finally, woken up to the need to plug porous jails across the state, which together house nearly 30,000 undertrials and convicts, including hardcore Maoists.
According to a foolproof security plan, closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will be installed or upgraded in all the 26 state jails, starting with Ghaghidih Central Jail near Jamshedpur in East Singhbhum.
The hi-tech security measure comes in the wake of “a spurt in unlawful activities” orchestrated from inside many of these prisons.
Speaking to The Telegraph, IG (prisons) Ashok Kumar Sharma said they had conducted surveys and decided to first arm three jails — Birsa Munda Central Jail in Ranchi and Dhanbad Divisional Jail, besides Ghaghidih — with CCTV cameras and then gradually beef up security at the rest of the 23 prisons.
“We are going to equip these three on priority basis, as security concerns in these prisons are comparatively higher. In the second phase, we will bring more jails under camera vigil,” Sharma added.
At present, the Ghaghidih jail, which has the capacity to house 1,450 inmates, is occupied by 1,200 in 13 wards. As many as 35 CCTV cameras will be installed at its strategic locations.
“HCL Infotech Limited has been entrusted with the job to install the cameras. The prison authorities have sanctioned Rs 1.46 crore for the project. Of this amount, Rs 58 lakh has been earmarked for Ghaghidih,” said Sharma.
Acting superintendent of Ghaghidih jail Anil Kumar Rai said that they had identified 35 points where cameras needed to be installed and had also sent a proposal to Sharma in this regard.
“The cameras will be installed at the wards, entrance of the jail as well as on watchtowers. If necessary, we will increase the number of the camera,” Rai said, adding that the work would start by month-end and should be over within a fortnight.
Divulging further details, Rai, who is also East Singhbhum special officer (rationing), said the monitor of the CCTV cameras will be installed at the chamber of the jail superintendent.
Currently, Ghaghidih Central Jail is equipped with six watchtowers and 2G jammers to block telecommunication signals. However, the prison has only 90 security guards, whereas 150 posts have been sanctioned. It also has no 3G jammers.
“The fact that inmates have access to the outside world has been proved after the district administration recovered mobile phones, chargers and SIM cards a number of times during raids,” Rai justified the security overdrive.
Birsa Munda Central Jail: All the 8 CCTV cameras are
lying defunct, 2G jammers yet to be upgraded
Central Jail: Only 90 out of 150
on vigil. No 3G
Divisional Jail: One CCTV camera and that, too, is lying defunct; 23 out of 46 posts for security guards