Two senior prison officials have approached the National Commission for Scheduled Castes seeking intervention for their transfer from Sonbhadra jail where no prisoner is lodged.
Superintendent Ribbon Singh and Deputy Jailor K P Chandila have been posted at the Sonbhadra jail since May 2012 and February 2013, respectively, along with 20 warders.
Both officials are Dalits.
A new jail building was handed over to the prisons department in 2012 but the latter could not make drinking water available at the jail. The prisoners of Sonbhadra judicial jurisdiction are lodged at the adjacent Mirzapur jail.
Superintendent Ribbon Singh said, “I was transferred to Sonbhadra district jail in May 2012. The jail has no prisoners as there is no water supply. I have been trying for my transfer as I have nothing to do here. I live about 22 km away from the jail. It seems the state government is prejudiced towards Dalit officials.”
Singh was awarded President’s Gallantry Medal on August 15, 2012.
Drinking water could not be made available to Sonbhadra Jail due to low strata of ground water there. Efforts to dig a boring water pump failed nearly a dozen times. A proposal for connecting the jail with a canal at a distance of nearly five km at a cost of Rs 2.5 crore is gathering dust.
Deputy Jailor K P Chandila said, “I have approached Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav several times and he approved my transfer. But the prisons department did not issue an order in this regard. I am fed up of sitting idle for over a year now,” he said.
Chandila claims to be the only officer in the Jail Department of having received President’s Gallantry Medal twice, in 2007 and 2008.
The two officials said the commission, in response to their applications, reportedly issued notice to the Principal Secretary (Home) to file a reply. However, no reply has yet been filed, claimed the officials.
The case will now be taken up by the commission for next hearing.
Meanwhile, AIG M L Prakash, who also holds the charge of DIG (Jail), Allahabad region, which covers Sonbhadra Jail, admitted that the issue is in the knowledge of the Jail Department. “It is a policy decision to transfer officials. The officials at Sonbhadra had approached the SC Commission and the higher authorities have to take the decision,” Prakash said.