Jail staff go on hunger strike, 57 hospitalized

Bhubaneswar: With indefinite hunger strike of jail wardens across the state entering second day on Monday, at least 57 staff were hospitalized as they were pressing for their 12-point charter of demands.

The major demands of the All Orissa Jail Employees Association include fixation of basic pay of the wardens at par with police constables, payment of extra allowance at 15 per cent vis-a-vis police personnel in the Maoist-hit areas and shift duty for eight hours a day.

"We would not give in to departmental action or pressure. Till our demands are met, we will continue agitation. We demand fixation of salary, introduction of shift duty, thirteen months salary and monotonous allowance of Rs 500 from Rs 100," a striking jail staff said.

As per reports, staff of all the 86 jails in the state have joined the strike. With this, the security system in all the jails has gone for a toss, especially in Maoist-dominated areas and jails housing dreaded criminals.

Before it could get any worse further, the IG (Prisons)Pranabindu Acharya today visited the Jharpada Special Jail here to persuade the striking officials. However, the visit did not yield any results.

"We have urged them to call off hunger strike. The proposals are under consideration and we expect them to be fulfilled. The strike has hampered the work at all jails and we are looking for alternative arrangements," IG (Prisons)Pranabindu Acharya said.

Earlier on Thursday, the jail wardens in the state had launched a three-day agitation wearing black badges for fulfillment of their demands. But, the officials sat on hunger strike from Sunday pressing for their demands.