Odishatv Bureau

Choudwar: With acute shortage of staff and weak infrastructure, security in the Choudwar Circle Jail, the largest jail in Odisha, has become an issue of grave concern.

Talking to OTV, Superintendent of Choudwar Circle Jail, Niranjan Das said the jail, with a scheduled capacity to house 728 prisoners, is now overcrowded with 1110 prisoners. To keep an eye on these inmates, only 20 staffs are presently engaged for each shift.

“Besides, out of 54 CCTV cameras installed inside the jail some of them have gone out of order for a long time. Though there is a requirement of four mobile jammers inside the jail to prevent the prisoners from talking to outsiders, there is only one jammer of 2G spectrum which remains non-functional in most of the days”, he added.

On special security measures the jail authorities have taken to keep a strict vigil on the jail inmates including the Dhalasamant brothers, the Tito gang members and about 30-40 hardcore criminals, Das said security personnel have been deployed in each duty post where these criminals have been lodged.

“While Sushil Dhalasamant is lodged in ward no-5 of Cell no-3, his elder brother Sushant is lodged in ward no-3 of Cell no-2. Besides, Bhajana, one of the most active members of Dhalasamant gang, is lodged at barrack no-3 while other gang members like Bhuan, Sangram, Juga, Sola, Guddu and Debasis Kar have been lodged in separate wards,” he informed.

Asked about the seizure of mobile phones and SIM cards from the jail inmates, Das said the search operations have been intensified.

“There are four perimeter watch towers in each corner inside the jail. Since we have shortage of staff to man these towers, some anti-socials, taking advantage of this, throw mobile phones and SIM cards inside the jail premises from these places. Also it is found that the jail inmates have managed bring mobile phones and SIM cards by hiding them inside their undergarments when they are taken outside to produce before the court and brought from the court to jail. We have taken note of such instances and have taken necessary steps in this regard,” he said.

Talking about the infrastructure required for the jail, he said the jail authorities have hired a private company to look after the maintenance of CCTV cameras while efforts are on to install three more mobile jammers inside the jail very soon.

It may be mentioned that the Circle Jail, Cuttack was set up in Cuttack in 1864. But due to administrative inconvenience, the Jail was shifted to Choudwar on April 1, 1991 and named as Circle Jail, Cuttack at Choudwar.

The total area of the Jail land is 25.96 acres of which the area inside the jail premises is about 19 acres.