HYDERABAD: Now, inmates of Cherlapally Central Prison can officially talk on telephone to their dear ones as home minister P Sabita Indra Reddy will inaugurate six biometric telephones on the prison premises on Thursday.
The long-awaited phones will curb their illegal usage in the prison and help nearly 2,000 inmates get connected to their family members, lawyers and doctors.
CN Gopinatha Reddy, DGP (Prisons), who is going to retire from service on March 31, said the six telephones were installed in six partitioned cabins by Vodafone.
"By orders from the state home department, the phones were installed.
If the experiment is successful, we will extend it to other central prisons in the state," Gopinatha Reddy said.
"Inmates can make a fiveminute call at a time and Rs 5 would be charged per call.
The inmates can call their family members twice a week or eight times in a month but not at one go," he said.
The call rate would come down after six months, said KC Srinivasa Rao, superintendent of Cherlapally prison.
"The call charge was put at Rs 5 to recover the cost of the biometric phones," he explained.
When asked from where the prisoners would get money to make calls, the superintendent said the inmates are not allowed to have money beyond what they earn by doing odd jobs and that their daily income ranges between Rs 40 to Rs 70.
"Circulation of currency is prohibited in the prison. Inmates are given tokens in the denominations of Rs 5, Rs 10 and Rs 20. They use the tokens at the canteen and telephone booths on the premises," he said.
The phone numbers of the inmates' family members and relatives will be registered with the jail authorities in advance and all the calls will be monitored.
The inmates of the Prison are also happy to have the facility. “I have been waiting for this facility for two years. Now I can directly talk to my lawyer about the progress of my case,” said a prisoner, who had been lodged for last ten years. "I am happy that I can talk to my doctors about my health problem," another prisoner said.