The fast-unto-death strike by jail warders across the State, which completed fourth day on Thursday, had its impact felt on the high-security circle jail here at Choudwar when the jail authorities found it extremely difficult to man the prison that houses many noted gangsters, mafia dons and dreaded Maoists.

The situation turned for the worst when the sick striking jailors refused to perform duties on Thursday leaving the watch towers and main gates unmanned. Following a request from Jail IG, the Commissionerate of Police released 20 home guards and 20 armed police to man the jail on the day.

“As such, the circle jail was under-staffed for many vacancies, the situation turned alarming when all the 91 warders, who are on hunger strike from Monday, refused to perform duties,” said the jail superintendent Subhrakant Mishra.

The 40 policemen, including the home guards allotted by the Cuttack DCP are manning jail premises with much difficulty, he added.

Meanwhile after refusing to take food for last four days, at least 60 striking warders have already taken ill till Thursday afternoon.

All the sick warders are admitted in SCB medical college and hospital here, sources said.

The circle jail currently houses over 400 prisoners, including many dreaded gangsters and Maoists for which the security in the premises has become a great concern for the authorities. While top Maoist leader Anna Reddy and 20 other ultras are lodged here, the jail also houses noted gangster Titto and many of his associates.

The jail authorities are particularly concerned for the rival gangsters lodged here since they are always waiting for an opportunity to come face to face.

The security of innocent under trial prisoners (UTPs) are also a cause of concern, said a jail official.