The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report tabled in the Legislature here has indicated security lapses and mismanagement by the jail staff in the Gujarat prisons.
According to the CAG report on ‘General and Social Sector’ for the year ended in March 31, 2013 lapses in security led to excavation of a tunnel at Sabarmati Central Prison (located in Ahmedabad city).
“Due to deficient planning in construction of new prisons, some prisons were overcrowded while some other prisons were under-utilised among the test-checked prisons,” the CAG report which was tabled on Friday, said.
On the occupancy, the CAG report said that five prisons of the state, including Sabarmati undertrial prison in Ahmedabad (253 per cent), Vadodara Central Prison for males (193 per cent), Junagadh district prison (165 per cent), Palanpur district prison (115 per cent) and Navasari Sub prison (140 per cent) are highly over-crowded.
This shows deficient planning by the Inspector General of Prisons (IGP) office in ensuring optimum utilisation of the capacity of prisons, it said.
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On security lapses in the Prisons, the CAG report said, “Door frame metal detectors, close circuit TV system and mobile phone jammers installed at the prisons (test-checked) were found ineffective.”
The report also added that there were no watch towers outside Sabarmati Central Prison and the elevation of watch towers at Palara special prison in Bhuj district was reduced due to Air Defence protocols.
“In contravention of the Bombay Jail Manual, high-rise buildings were constructed within the prohibited distance of Navasari Sub Prisons. Out of 1540 prisoners who had escaped, 567 prisoners were yet to be traced (March 2013),” it said.
The report has also given a detailed note on the ‘2013 Sabarmati jail escape bid’ allegedly planned by the accused of ‘2008 Ahmedabad serial bomb blasts case’.
The note with the title ‘security lapses leading to excavation of tunnel in prison’ observed that there were 26 CCTV cameras installed in Sabarmati prison, but majority of them were not working since 2010.
“Though construction of 200 new cells for hardcore criminals and terrorists were completed by ‘Gujarat State Police Housing Corporation Limited’ (GSPHCL), prison authority could not take over possession of the cells, and prisoners accused in serious crimes were continued to be lodged in prison cells meant for ordinary prisoners,” it said.
It further said that there was shortage of 50 per cent of security staff for a long time and permission was granted (January 2012) by the government for recruitment of 672 sepoys which remains incomplete.
The CAG report has also pointed out poor health care facilities for jail inmates referring the shortage of medical staff and equipments as well as beds in the jails across the state.
No State Advisory Board or Prisons Development Board had been constituted in the state for better administration and modernisation of prisons. Internal control system was found weak in the prisons, the report said.