HYDERABAD: Hundreds of persons are seen waiting in the shade of trees or sheds on the premises of Chanchalguda prison everyday for their turn to meet their relatives who are imprisoned. Many of them come from neighbouring districts without knowing when they will have the ‘mulaqat’.
Now, to avoid this trouble, the state prisons authorities are mulling over introducing online booking of a time slot for mulaqat to make it easier for relatives to meet prisoners. At present, relatives of inmates are physically given a token number on ‘first come, first served’ basis and they end up waiting for hours together before the meeting.
Relatives of prison inmates will no longer have to travel from far-off places and wait in long queues just to book a slot for a meeting with their near and dear ones.
All prisoners are allowed mulaqat twice a week.
There are around 6,700 prisoners in Telangana, of whom about 4,000 are undertrials. According to information, the annual average footfalls in state prisons total about one lakh. Officials claim that as many as 20,000 of them leave the prison as literates every year.
“Around 200 people, on an average, visit Chanchalguda jail a day except on Sundays when mulaqat is not allowed. In the case of Cherlapally central jail more than 400 people visit it every day. By e-mulaqat, relatives can reserve their time slot online just like they do for movie shows or railway travel,” VK Singh, director-general (prisons) of Telangana said.
According to him, a lot of work has to be done if the proposal is to fructify. “Suppose 30 visitors can be allowed at any given time and each one has 20 minutes to spend with the prisoner concerned, we can clearly schedule a person’s visit online without the relatives being physically present at the jail premises,” he explained and hoped the online system whould be in place in a month’s time.
Once a slot is booked online, the prison inmate’s relative can schedule his or her travel to the city after receiving confirmation. The online system will also enable the authorities to maintain order and manage the crowd on the premises.
E-mulaqat has been a much-talked in the across prisons department all over the country. In most cases, authorities have thought of defining e-mulaqat as an online mulaqat between a prisoner and his/her relatives through video conferencing. However, here, at Telangana prisons, authorities wish to restrict the e-mulaqat to online slot booking system.
New Waiting Lounge Ready
The department has made ready a new lounge for visitors at the Chanchalguda prison exclusively for relatives of prisoners who come for mulaqat.
The new facility, with a seating capacity of 100, is an air-conditioned hall and has LED television sets. An LED screen will display the visitors’ token numbers. The lounge will be inaugurated on October 14.
“This waiting room is by far the best in the country. Visitors do not have to sit on the ground or under the trees or in the parking shed,” said the director-general.