A new prison complex, first proposed by the government 35 years ago to decongest Tihar Jail, started functioning in northeast Delhi’s Mandoli on Thursday afternoon.
The new prison has a capacity of holding 3,777 prisoners, 61 of whom were shifted to the jail complex on Thursday.
Jail sources said because of security reasons, prisoners to the new jail would be transferred in small groups every day for the first few weeks.
The prison was to be completed and handed over to the Tihar jail authorities in 2010 but the public works department engaged in carrying out the construction missed multiple deadlines.
Director general (prisons) Sudhir Yadav told HT that the first batch of prisoners consisted mostly of those men who had been convicted but had good conduct.
“We shifted prisoners who do not have court hearings to attend and are serving their sentences. They are also the ones with good conduct inside the prison. Within the next two months we hope to make the jail fully functional ad running at its maximum strength.”
With over 14,469 prisoners currently — highest to date — Tihar jail has more than twice the number of prisoners against its sanctioned strength of 6250.
NEW JAIL VANS NEXT WEEK
Meanwhile the Delhi police purchased 12 new vans to ferry prisoners from jails to the court complex. The vans are likely to be handed over to the police on October 28. Sources said that earlier this year, top brass decided to invest in new buses, instead of maintaining the old ones.
The maintenance bill of the buses ran over Rs 1 crore, police said, which was the highest bill furnished by any department within Delhi Police. Eyebrows were raised when the department reportedly submitted a maintenance bill of around Rs 1.2 lakh for old motorcycle that cost less than a lakh.
Police said that because of many murders reported inside jail vans while the prisoners are taken for their court hearing, the new vans will have small but different cells (chambers) within the bus.
“The prisoners will be kept inside separate cells. Presently most of our vans have just one cell, with a very few vans having two cells. The new vans will have multiples cells to ensure that prisoners do not get into scuffles,” an officer said.
The officer also said that pinhole cameras would be installed inside the van. The tenders for the cameras have already been floated. The cameras, an officer said, would be tamper-proof and hidden from the view of prisoners.