TAMIL NADU

Land to be disposed of, Central jail moving to Puzhal

CHENNAI Jan. 3. A familiar building opposite the Central Railway Station here — Chennai Central Prison — may be pulled down in a few years. The State Government has decided to dispose of the land, on which the prison is located near the Government Hospital, through a tender-cum-public auction.

But the land will be sold only after the prison is shifted to suburban Puzhal, where a new modern complex will be constructed on 95 hectares. It will be built on the model of the Hyderabad Central Prison, considered the best in Asia, according to official sources.

The Government earlier planned to hand over the land to the Southern Railway for providing a rail link between the Central station and Egmore, the sources said. But as the Railway was not interested in taking over the land, the Government decided to sell it off. "It is prime property, though located along the rail line", a senior official noted.

While the Police Housing Corporation is to be entrusted with constructing the new complex at Puzhal, the Housing and Urban Development Corporation will be approached for funding.

Shifting the existing prison is imperative as there are a number of commercial and office complexes in and around the jail. Besides, a severe space constraint is felt with an increase in the number of prisoners.

The Government considered two sites, one at Puzhal and the other at Maraimalai Nagar, for setting up the new complex. Puzhal has been selected as sufficient poromboke land is available around the existing jail complex there. The sources say about 31.25 hectares of poromboke land is available around the existing jail complex, situated on about 34.25 hectares. In addition, about 26.33 hectares is registered in the name of the prison and another three hectares of poromboke land is currently under the occupation of the Jail department.

Considering the distance involved, the Government has also planned to provide a full-fledged prison hospital at Puzhal, so as to eliminate the need for movement of prisoners for treatment.

A separate complex will be provided for women prisoners on the new campus, say the sources.

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