District jail opened ; govt. plans Central Prison in Kottayam
Director General of Police (Prisons) Alexander Jacob on Tuesday said that staff shortage in the Prison Department had created a sense of ‘insecurity’ among wardens while dealing with prisoners. According to him, as many as 404 posts out of the total of around 1200 remained vacant in the department.
He was talking to media persons before the inauguration of the District Jail here on Tuesday. Mr. Jacob said the department was undergoing a major upgradation process. According to him, there were around 180 prisoners from the district who were lodged in facilities in Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram. With the inauguration of the district jail in Kottayam, it would be possible to bring back nearly 60 prisoners who are serving sentences up to six months. He said there were plans to open district jails and special sub-jails in all districts. Efforts were on to establish a Central Prison in Kottayam. Steps were being taken to obtain an identified plot of 3.41 hectares in Adukkam in Teekoy near Erattupetta. The land is currently owned by the Irrigation Department. According to him, around 7600 prisoners have been lodged in the State prisons that are equipped to
house only 6100 inmates.
Mr. Jacob said that measures were also being taken to ensure that the prisons minimised the financial burden upon the State exchequer. Solar lighting systems were being installed in the 52 prisons in the State as part of a Rs.154-crore project. Prisons have started using biogas for cooking.
This would reduce the consumption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). In addition, rain water harvesters were also being established in various prisons.
The initiative, along with the usage of newly-constructed open wells and bore-wells, would reduce the consumption from the public water supply systems, he said.
District jail inaugurated
The special sub-jail in Kottayam has been upgraded to the district jail. Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan inaugurated the district jail at a function held here.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said that prisons were once considered a burden for the State government. They have now become profit-making institutions. He, however, pointed out that there was further scope for improving the facilities at prisons in the State.
Mr. Radhakrishnan also commissioned the solar power project and a bio-gas digester on the occasion. According to officials of the Prison Department, a waste processing unit has been installed at a cost of Rs.1,68,000 and it will be used to convert the waste generated to biogas that can be used for cooking.