Arthur Road Jail’s Barrack No 1, where actor Sanjay Dutt spent two nights before being shifted to Yerawada jail on Thursday, will be demolished next week.
A double-storey barrack will come up in place of Barrack No 1, also known as the VIP barrack because it doesn’t lodge hardcore criminals.
Besides Sanjay Dutt, the high-profile inmates of the barrack include Pravin Mahajan.
Jail authorities hope that the new building will solve the jail overcrowding problem to some extent.
Top sources in the state jail administration told HT that last week the state government approved the necessary financial sanction for the demolition of the old barrack and construction of a double-storey one.
The Public Works Department will begin the construction work next week.
“The single-storey barrack will be converted to a double-storey one,” Arthur Road Jail Superintendent Swati Sathe told HT on Sunday.
“The expansion of the barrack is necessary since the barrack accommodates the least number of inmates in the jail. The strength of the other 11 barracks ranges between 70 and 100 persons.”
The capacity of Barrack No 1 is only 26 but it has 100 inmates at present.
DIG Prisons, S.P. Yadav said the plan for construction of a double-storey barrack was more out of necessity.
“Arthur Road Jail, essentially a transit prison, had been facing serious overcrowding problem for the past few years,” said Yadav. “Though it can accommodate a maximum of 804 undertrials, at present the jail houses as many as 2,000 persons. Though we have solved the overcrowding problem to a great extent, still lot more need to be done.”
He said the new ground plus one structure can accommodate as many as 100 persons in each floor, as against its current capacity of just 26.
Barrack No 1, right opposite the jail superintendent’s office, is as old as the jail which was constructed in 1927. Till October 2, 2003, it used to be called the women’s barrack (accommodating women undertrials) before it was shifted to the Byculla jail. The barrack still houses the de-addiction centre of the jail.