The demand for relocation of the Special Jail at Jharpada is gaining ground. The Assembly Petitions Committee visited the prison, met its officials and interacted with the locals as well as their representatives here on Wednesday.
The prison has increasingly come in for resistance from the local inhabitants given a change in its profile over the years. It now houses hardcore Maoists and dreaded criminals. The Committee had received petitions from the local associations demanding shifting of the prison to a distant place.
“A number of educational institutions have come up in the region while the residential units have multiplied. Locals feel that the jail has become a source of nuisance for the local populace,” Chairman of the seven-member Committee Bishnu Charan Dash said.
There are 16 schools in the vicinity of Special Jail. Local associations with whom the panel interacted were of the view that the prison and the activities that surround it will have an adverse impact on the students.
“While there is a constant movement of policemen and security personnel for escorting hardened criminals and high-profile Maoists, there have been several incidents of bombing and violence in the vicinity of the jail which the locals find disturbing in nature,” Bhubaneswar (Ekamra) MLA Ashok Panda said.
In fact, the jail is located over 30 acre whereas it needs more area and installation of newer facilities given a rise in its inmates number.
The Committee held discussions with ADG, Prisons, S S Hansdah about the State Government’s plans for a relocation. Hansdah told the members that the prison would require about 50 acre if it’s relocated on outskirts of the City.
While the Biju Patnaik Open Air Jail at Jamujhari has ample space, a correctional officers training academy, a school for the children of the convicts, are also coming up there.
The Committee inspected the CCTV facilities, jammers and other such installations on the premises. The panel will table its recommendations in the Assembly.