The state government will set up a high-level committee to examine the feasibility of shifting central jails, including the Arthur Road jail in Mumbai and other prisons in Maharashtra, outside city limits, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced in the legislative assembly on Thursday.
Responding to a motion initiated by Congress member Praniti Shinde, Fadnavis said representatives from the home and urban development departments would be included in the proposed secretary-level committee, which will submit its report soon.
Fadnavis admitted the development of areas surrounding jails has been adversely affected because of the existing norm of banning renovation and new construction within 500 metres of jails.
The National Jail Manual, however, says such restriction should be limited to a periphery of 150 metres. “The proposed secretary-level committee will examine the feasibility of shifting jails to spots outside the city limits, setting up hospitals and courts for inmates, and relaxing norms to allow new construction and renovation in the areas where it is now restricted,” said Fadnavis. The government will also provide video conferencing facility at jails for court trials and other needs, Fadnavis said.
“Such instructions would be communicated to all jail authorities soon,” he added.
The norm banning renovation and new construction in areas peripheral to jails was formulated on the basis of a high court order and the recommendation of a committee headed by additional chief secretary (home).
Shinde pointed out development of parts of Solapur was affected because of these norms.BJP member Ashish Shelar added development was also affected near the Arthur Road Jail, and said: “There is a need to either shift the jail outside the city or relax the norms.”
The chief minister also said the present area of most jails is not adequate and there is a need to construct new buildings and complexes within jail premises.