Yerawada jail officials seek for more space as Covid cases rise

PUNE: The Yerawada prison authorities seek new space for a temporary prison or isolation facility to accommodate the rising number of new inmate admissions who are testing Covid positive
The Yerawada prison authorities seek new space for a temporary prison or isolation facility to accommodate the rising number of new inmate admissions who are testing Covid positive. (HT FILE PHOTO)
The Yerawada prison authorities seek new space for a temporary prison or isolation facility to accommodate the rising number of new inmate admissions who are testing Covid positive. (HT FILE PHOTO)
Published on Jan 19, 2022 11:01 PM IST
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ByShalaka Shinde

PUNE: The Yerawada prison authorities seek new space for a temporary prison or isolation facility to accommodate the rising number of new inmate admissions who are testing Covid positive. As on Tuesday (January 18) night, the number of virus infected patients in the prison was 85, highest among patients in state prisons, according to prison statistics.

The infected are held at the temporary prison facility in a hostel for Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes by Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (Barti). Along with the inmates, four jail officials of Yerawada and three officials working in the additional director general of police and inspector general of police of state prison department located in Pune have also tested positive.

“We have three buildings occupied right now. One has water connection issue so cannot be used. One of the three is a Covid centre, one is for men, and another for women. Almost all prisoners coming from outside are positive and prisoners who are taken for court hearings or medical reasons also contract the virus,” said Rani Bhosale, superintendent of Yerawada Central Jail.

The new admissions are tested and kept in isolation before being let into the main jail. The hospital and Covid centre are filled to their strength with patients, according to prison officials.

“Sassoon General Hospital does not admit asymptomatic patients, so it is not an option for us. The capacity of temporary prison is around 400, but there are new admissions every single day,” said Bhosale. According to an official of the prison department, the daily admission to the temporary prison scales to around 80 every day.

The jail officials are requesting the district authority to let them use the Sant Dnyaneshwar quarantine centre located at a hostel in Vishrantwadi, according to Bhosale. The facility will ease pressure on the temporary jail.

However, the security at both the places is of concern. The city police have been given the responsibility of securing the temporary jails as per the original order of the district collector.

There have been multiple incidents of undertrials escaping the temporary facility since its inception in 2020. To get a new space, the prison department will require security support from the city police.

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