Paving the way for sweeping reforms in the state’s prison administration, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday ordered a series of measures, including AI-enabled CCTV system, live wire fencing and creation of a separate prison intelligence wing, to make the jails secure, even as he gave the go-ahead for a legislation to establish ‘Punjab Prison Development Board’, in the ongoing Budget Session.While accepting the Prison Department’s department proposal for Live Wire Fencing (220/440 volts) along the outer walls of the jails, Captain Amarinder approved installation of artificial intelligence-enabled CCTV system in nine central jails, seven district jails and two special jails.Chairing a high level meeting to review the functioning of the Prisons Department, the Chief Minister asked Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to ensure that the best practices of prison administration are followed in the state’s jails, and also directed the Prisons Department to submit, within four weeks, a comprehensive plan for restructuring the jails. He asked ADGP Jails Praveen Kumar Sinha to prepare the plan for restructuring, realignment and launch of new schemes encompassing correctional measures for the reformation of prisoners, an official spokesperson said after the meeting.To minimize the expenditure involved in presenting undertrials in courts (to the tune of Rs 40-50 lakh a day), the Chief Minister okayed the department’s proposal for installation of video conferencing system at all jails of the State.
To ensure foolproof security through adequate staff, Captain Amarinder also gave go ahead for filling up 305 posts of warders, already approved by Officers’ Committee and the state cabinet, in addition to another 448 posts of warders and 28 posts of Matrons lying vacant in the department. He asked the Department to submit a proposal to fill these posts expeditiously. He also conceded the department’s demand 37 additional vehicles to augment mobility within the prisons.To beef up the security at Central Jail Ludhiana, the Chief Minister approved construction of a double barbed wire inner boundary wall and three additional watch towers. The Chief Minister also accorded approval for replacement of the outer boundary wall of Patiala Central Jail, which is currently in a dilapidated condition. The Chief Minister asked the Prisons Department to work out the modalities for getting inmates treated for serious diseases at the specialised private hospitals under Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana.Detailed presentations were made by former DGP Jails Telangana and currently the Director Telangana State Police Academy Vinoy Kumar Singh and Director IIM Rohtak Dheeraj Sharma on issues relating to modernisation and reforms in the jails. The meeting was attended by CM’s Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary Home Satish Chandra, DGP Dinkar Gupta, ADGP Administration Gaurav Yadav, ADGP Law & Order Ishwar Singh, ADGP Intelligence Varinder Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary Local Government Sanjay Kumar, Principal Secretary to CM Tejveer Singh, Principal Secretary Jails R Venkat Ratnam, Principal Secretary Public Works Vikas Pratap, Secretary Expenditure Vijay Zade, IG Prisons R K Arora and DIG Prisons Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar.