December 25, 2017 3:15:05 am
The Maharashtra government has set up a committee of three senior government officials to study the security infrastructure at Arthur Road jail in central Mumbai and suggest additional measures to bolster it.
The state home department issued a government resolution (GR) earlier this month announcing the formation of a panel headed by Deven Bharti, Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order). The committee also includes Rajvardhan, Special Inspector General of Police (Prisons), and the joint secretary from the urban development department. The GR makes note of existing slum pockets adjoining the perimeter of the high-security prison, whose proximity to the compound is a source of concern for prison authorities.
With the Jacob Circle-Chembur-Wadala Monorail corridor passing through the road outside the jail, and a station planned close by, home department officials said there was a need for a comprehensive review of the jail’s security infrastructure, from the lights to the height of the compound’s boundary walls and deployment of guards at entrances and exits.
The GR states that the committee is to also take into consideration the construction of buildings taking place around the jail and suggest changes in security measures accordingly. The committee is required to submit its report to the home department within a month. A senior home department official added that the committee was yet to meet.
Currently, construction is restricted within 150 metres of the Arthur Road jail. The norms were relaxed from the earlier buffer zone of 180 metres by the state government in 2015.
The jail has housed Pakistani national Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving terrorist of the 26/11 attack in Mumbai, before his execution in 2012. Current high-profile inmates of the jail include NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and murder accused media entrepreneur Peter Mukerjea.
The jail is also severely congested, with at least 3,000 undertrials living in a space meant for no more than 800 inmates.
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