Mayor Balwant Rai Nath and commoners had to face embarrassment at the central jail here because of the mismanagement by jail authorities on the occasion of the festival of Raksha Bandhan.
With the jail authorities stopping the people at the gate where visitors, majority of whom were women, were being given passes after entry in computers before going ahead to meet their near and dear ones, due to slow pace of issuing of passes a large number of women gathered there waiting for their turn to meet their brothers. Some of the women complained that they had been waiting since early morning but they were not allowed to go ahead till 10:30 am.
Meanwhile, having got the information that people were complaining at the jail gate, mayor Nath too reached the place to look into the situation.
However, the security guards deputed at the gate didn't allow the mayor's vehicle to go ahead. Having been stopped from going ahead, the mayor, along with SAD councillors Harmandar Singh and Rajinder Sidhu, stepped out of the vehicle. Nath, however tried to play down the incident and said: "The security guards at the gate were just following the instructions passed on to them not to allow any vehicle to enter the jail premises so he had no issue either with guards or jail authorities".
However, councillor Sidhu created scene at the place and entered into arguments with the guards alleging that they were not supposed to stop the mayor's vehicle.
Apparently feeling embarrassed, the mayor was seen trying to contact higher jail authorities on the issue. However, after some time jail superintendent Gurbinder Singh himself came and all the visitors were allowed to meet their kin after recording their visit manually to avoid delay.
A visitor Paramjit Kaur from Pakka Shahidan village in Haryana, sister of Budh Singh under trial in a murder case, said, "Last year, there was no problem as we were allowed to meet Budh Singh easily but today I have been waiting here since 6 am to meet him."
Another visitor, Soma Devi, sister of inmate Onkar Ram from Mansa district said, "We have been waiting here since early morning to meet Onkar for Raksha Bandhan but guards are not allowing us to go ahead as our entry would be recorded in computers first, then we would be allowed."
The jail superintendent said the delay was due to mandatory computer entry of visitors but, sensing the situation, we switched to manual entry and visitors were allowed to meet without any hassle. On the issue of embarrassment faced by the mayor, he said that guards stopped the vehicle due to some misunderstanding.