HYDERABAD: Two undertrials lodged in the Chanchalguda central prison have died in the last one week.
While M Srinivas (39) died at Osmania Hospital on Sunday, another undertrial, a 70-year-old mentally-deranged person died at the Institute of Mental Health at Erragadda on the night of April 22.
With these, the total number of prisoners who have lost lives on account of health issues this year has gone up to eight. The number of prisoners who died while in jails in the state stood at 53, 56 and 32 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively.
Srinivas was remanded in the Chanchalguda central prison in a theft case registered at Tirumalgiri police station on April 17. As he became drowsy and his pulse weak, he was taken to Osmania general hospital on April 24. He died the same afternoon.
The other death was that of 70-year-old Shakti Ekanand. He was admitted to IMH, Erragadda on March 17, the day he had been remanded in Chanchalguda central prison in a case of rape of a minor girl. According to officials, he suffering from diabetes and hypertension and died on April 22.
VK Singh, director-general (prisons & Correctional Services) has maintained that the prisons department has taken a slew of measures to check deaths. According to him, the incidence of deaths in jails has been on the decline over the years.
"We have been conducting health screening of prisoners when they are remanded or convicted and sent to prisons. We have also been monitoring their health on a regular basis and taking expert advice. Thus, we could bring down the death rate last year," he claimed recently.
Going by the figures, he had said, the number of deaths this year would not cross 18, which is almost half of last year's number.
The prisons department launched initiatives to help terminally-ill prisoners secure bail and go back to their families. An insurance cover of up to ` 1 lakh for prisoners is also being mooted.
Last year, the prisons in the state had 77,000 inmates, 20,000 fewer than in the previous year. At present, against the sanctioned accommodation of 6,848 inmates, only 6,185 are being lodged in jails. Of them, 2,340 are convicts and 3,146 are undertrials. There are also 335 detainees. Among the female prisoners, 210 are convicts, 222 undertrials and 10 are detainees.