The Jails and Co-operation Minister, Punjab, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, who has assumed charge just yesterday, today paid a surprise visit to the Central Jail Patiala at 7:30 AM. Initiating his tour of Punjab jails from Patiala, the minister made it clear that reforming the jails of the state occupies priority slot in his scheme of things.Interacting with the media-persons on the occasion, Mr. Randhawa said that in order to stop the misuse of mobiles in jails, the jail department has maintained regular contact with the Union Government as required for upgrading the jammers from 3G to 4G. He further said that the jail system needs more reforms so as to deal with the gangsters and hardcore criminals inside the jails and also that he would take personal interest in proving equal to the responsibility. Mr. Randhawa further said that modalities are being worked out to make arrangements for setting up of special courts inside the jails to try the gangsters there itself to ensure that they are not allowed to project themselves as heroes. It would ensure that the youth is not led astray by such showoff. He also divulged that a special court room is being prepared inside the jail for the purpose whereas the video conferencing method is already in use for the hearing of the matters involving gangsters.The minister also disclosed that in order to transform the jails into reform houses and tackle behavioral issues of the inmates, psychologists would be hired for counseling. Further elaborating, he said that as usage of drugs by the inmates is a major area of concern, the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has accorded sanction to 420 posts of warders to strengthen the security arrangements of jails.
He also added that 150 are being trained in Patiala, 375 in RTC Kapurthala while the recruitment process with regard to 267 is going on. He also said that those employees performing well would be given promotions and honours while the non-performers would have to face the music.Mr. Randhawa further said that an agreement would be inked with the co-operation and social security departments to ensure that the goods manufactured such as—Durries, inside the jails would be purchased by the anganwadi centres. He also lauded the skill centre opened inside the women's cell of the jail.The minister also interacted with the inmates of the jail and resolved the complaints of about 50 inmates on the spot. He also announced the speedy redressal of the pending cases of parole, next action concerning legal aid matters and opening up of the co-operative bank ATMs for the salary issues of the jail employees.The minister also took stock of the jail hospital and canteen, inspected the food quality and announced Rs. 7 lakh from his discretionary quota for purchasing 2 roti making machines for the jail and the setting up of a verka booth here.Mr. Randhawa expressed satisfaction at the cleanliness and food arrangements inside the jail and gave instructions holding a word with the Health Minister for improvement in the health services inside jail hospital, free treatment of inmates in the government hospitals and buying medicines. On the occasion, IG Jails, Punjab Mr. R.K. Arora, Senior Superintendent of Patiala Jail Mr. Rajan Kapoor, Additional Superintendent Mr. Gurcharan Singh and other officers were also present.