Thirty five years after it was proposed, the long-awaited Mandoli Jail complex is set to be operational within two weeks. The new prison complex will ease the inmate load on Tihar Jail, which currently accommodates as many as 14,209 inmates against its sanctioned capacity of 6,250, and Rohini Jail which houses close to 6,000 inmates against a capacity of 1,050.
Tihar Deputy Inspector General Mukesh Prasad told The Indian Express that the work at the jail is complete. “We have started preparing a list of inmates and have decided to shift all convicted inmates from Tihar Jail as well as Rohini Jail to Mandoli. Initially, we will shift 500 convicted inmates from Tihar and Rohini jail. We will also deploy as many as 800 security personnel, apart from personnel of the Tamil Nadu Special Police, Central Reserve Police Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police,” he said.
Spread over 68.4 acres, the Mandoli Jail will be able to accommodate 3,776 inmates. The budget for the prison complex is Rs 340.56 crore.
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The project, which has missed many deadlines before, was constructed by the Public Works Department (PWD). During construction, the height of the walls and watch towers were raised to increase security as the prison complex is surrounded by densely populated localities.
Earlier, PWD and Home Minister Satyendar Jain had said only those undertrials and convicts who have a record of good conduct will be shifted to the newly-constructed jail. Those convicted of heinous crimes or those convicts who are known to be part of a gang will not be transferred to Mandoli, he had said.
In its report on social, general and economic sectors for the financial year ending March 2014, auditing the performance (from 2009 to 2014) of the country’s central jail, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) stated that the 10 jails under Tihar, as of March 2014, were “grossly overcrowded” with 14,209 prisoners against a capacity of 6,250. The prison showed 217 per cent occupancy.
Moreover, 51 undertrial prisoners were found serving sentences for more than half the maximum term of punishment for the offences they were booked under, stated the report. This is against government rules, it added.