AN UPCOMING prison in Mankhurd could be one of the tallest prison buildings in the country with the administration planning a six-storey structure to house 3,000 inmates.
The “modern prison” is expected to take considerable load off the overcrowded Arthur Road Jail in Mumbai. The jail, likely to come up in the next two years, will also have high-security cells for “VIP inmates”. In the past, the likes of liquor baron Vijay Mallya had opposed his extradition from UK to India citing the poor condition of prisons in the city.
A senior official from the prisons department told The Indian Express that while the Arthur Road Jail was constructed in 1926, it can only accommodate over 1,000 inmates. It, however, houses over 3,000 inmates at present.
“Since we are building a new prison, we want to ensure that it can accommodate a much higher number of inmates.
We plan to build a facility that can house 3,000 inmates. To house as many people, we are hoping to construct a six-storey structure. It could be one of the tallest prisons in the country,” the senior official added.
The official said that they are in the process of getting the plans for the building drawn up by an architect. The proposal will then be passed on to the state government and the department is hopeful that the state will approve its request, considering overcrowding of Mumbai prisons is a perennial problem. “We have a chance to resolve the issue once and for all,” the official added.
To resolve the problem of overcrowding at Arthur Road Jail, Taloja Central Jail was constructed in 2008. The prison can house around 2,500 inmates.
The Taloja jail, however, did not help in reducing the overcrowding as it was too far from the Mumbai sessions court. “It was a cumbersome exercise to ferry inmates from Taloja jail to the sessions court in south Mumbai where the trial of inmates lodged at Arthur Road Jail takes place. Hence, moving inmates from Arthur Road to Taloja did not make a lot of sense logistically. Also, we do not have enough prison guards to accompany inmates to the court” the official said.
In October 2016, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had given his approval to construct a modern prison in Mankhurd on a five acres of land. The prison will come up near a patch of land adjacent to the Mankhurd station between Mankhurd and Vashi.