aryana Housing and Jails Minister, Krishan Lal Panwar said that during the tenure of present State Government, the Housing Board has so far built 19,356 flats and about 5,000 houses of different categories are under construction at separate locations in the state. A sum of about Rs 550 crore has so far been spent on construction of houses.
Panwar, who was addressing a press conference, said that under new scheme, about 440 acres land of Town and Country Planning Department, Urban Local Bodies Department and Haryana Shehri Vikas Pradhikaran have been used for construction of houses and there was a scheme to construct about 6,000 houses for ex-servicemen, employees and Economically Weaker Sections at Gurugram, Karnal and Hisar. Similarly, the State Government has a scheme to construct about 1,700 flats for people belonging to BPL category in Gurugram for which about 2,500 applications have been received.
The Minister said that there was a requirement of 140 mobile jammers for all jails across the state.
In the first phase, 4G jammers would be installed at Jhajjar, Sonipat, Ambala and Gurugram at a cost of Rs 6.76 crore and in the second phase, 11 such jammers would be installed at district Rohtak and 17 in district Gurugram at a cost of Rs 17.53 crore. He said that there are total 19 jails including three central jails at Ambala, Hisar-1 and Hisar-2. He said that new jails were being constructed at Panipat, Rewari and Nuh which would capacity of 1,000 prisoners each. Apart from this, three additional barracks for men are being constructed at district jail Jind and Sirsa. Similarly, construction of five barracks for men and one barrack for women is under progress in district Jail Bhiwani. He said that open air campus would be established at district jail Karnal and Faridabad. Under this scheme, 30-32 houses would be constructed outside jail where prisoners would be able to live with their families and would also be allowed to work. This facility would be made available only to those prisoners who would exhibit good behaviour, he added.
Panwar said that earlier, the prisoners had permission to talk to their family members on phone only for 10 minutes. The present State Government has increased this time limit from 10 to 35 minutes for men and up to 60 minutes for women prisoners.
Apart from this, video calling facility has also been made available in 13 jails. He said that special attention was being paid towards diet of prisoners. Also, quality check is carried out of food being given to prisoners from time to time, he added. The Minister said that earlier, prisoners were given cashless coupons of Rs 6,000 to purchase items from canteen. From November 1, 2018, this amount has been increased to Rs 8,000. The dependents of prisoners can deposit this amount to the bank account of prisoner. He said that the present State Government has increased the honorarium of skilled labourer prisoner from Rs 40 to Rs 60, of semi-skilled labourer prisoner from Rs 25 to Rs 50 and of unskilled labourer prisoner from Rs 20 to Rs 40.
Replying to a question of mediaperson regarding smoking in the jails, the Minister said that earlier, complete ban was imposed on smoking in jails, but after getting complaint of irregularity, permission was granted for smoking in jails. It was also being considered to establish separate smoking zone or hall. On being asked about use of mobile phone in jails, he said that on recovery of mobile phone from a prisoner, case can be registered against him and his sentence period may also be increased.
Replying to another question, Panwar said that the State Government has given special relaxation to prisoners on several occasions such as Independence Day, Republic Day, Haryana Day and Golden Jubilee of the state. Since 2014, maximum relaxation of two years, one month and 15 days has so far been given to prisoners. Similarly, on the occasion of Haryana Day 2017 and Independence Day 2018, special relaxation was given to 65 years old women prisoners and 75 years old men prisoners. So far 44 such prisoners have been released, he added.