Chandigarh: Punjab government has decided to spend Rs 300 crore for overhauling infrastructure at the state prisons, besides approving construction of new jails to take the pressure off the existing ones.
Three new jails with enhanced capacity in Amritsar, Bathinda and Muktsar, along with new sub-jails at divisional and district levels will be constructed to deal with the problem of overcrowding in the prisons, Jail Minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur said here.
The new jails will be equipped with CCTV cameras, mobile jammers and other security equipment to ensure proper security in these upcoming jails, the minister said.
He said a comprehensive master plan has been formulated by the state government to improve the condition in state`s jails. It will be implemented in the next four years in a phased manner.
Currently, there are 25,219 prisoners lodged in various jails of the state against their capacity of 18,406 inmates.
The minister said the government was fully aware of the problems being faced by the prison staff in handling the "nexus" between drug peddlers and the prisoners in jails.
"The government has decided to empower jail superintendents to search the prisoners and initiate criminal proceedings under NDPC Act against those guilty," he said, adding that the matter is being taken up with Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal before final implementation.
Phillaur said jail officers have been asked to conduct extensive search operations in the prisons and seize the objectionable items found in their possession.
The officers confiscating maximum number of such items will be honoured by the state government, he said.
To ensure timely medical aid to the prisoners, a committee comprising the jail superintendent, medical officer and civil surgeon have been constituted to identify the experts who can be included in the medical panels of the jails, he said.
The government is also in touch with the Indian Oil Corporation, working out the modalities to open filling stations at Nabha, Sangrur and Gurdaspur where prisoners with good conduct will be given jobs, Phillaur said.
Besides, the department has also chalked out a plan to set up bakery units in jails on the lines of one in Tihar Jail, he said.