Lucknow: ‘Where there is a will there’s a way’ -the maxim nowadays fits suitable to the Prison Department of Uttar Pradesh.
One must be thinking that jail and good thing are two contradictory words. But, Whatsapp groups, Social media, TV channels and newspapers are flooded with news and stories of the social cause being taken up by the Jails across the state, proving that Prison and Reform services of Uttar Pradesh is all set to change the ongoing system of jails.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in India, Jail administration has taken up a slew of measures including providing sanitizers to the prison inmates, thermal scanning, setting up isolation centres and stitching masks in-house.
According to DG Prison Anand Kumar, a special task force has been created in all 71 operational jails in the state, where 88 isolation centers and quarantine cells have also been set up for the safety of prisoners and jail staff. Besides, in this critical time when the mask is very essential and the market encounters shortage, Jail inmates stitched around 3,00,000 double layered masks made by 35 macron cloth. Sanitizers and disinfectants are also being manufactured in some jails across the state.
“More than 1,00,000 masks have been supplied to the NGO and Government sectors at the cost of no profit no loss. The work of stitching masks, manufacturing sanitizers and disinfectants will continue till the nation become free from COVID-19 pandemic” said Anand Kumar.
The contribution of Prison administration is very well appreciated by DM Mirzapur. He has given five sewing machines to Mirzapur District Jail and placed an order of 5000 masks and again 5000 more. Jail staff and prisoners feel proud by the order and devoting their 14-15 hours to meet the requirement. They are assuring the jail authorities to do what they can in this critical time for the nation, said Anil Kumar Rai, superintendent of Mirzapur Jail. “The zeal of our staff and inmates are so high even kitchen inmates are ready to serve packed food to the needy,” he added.
The model Jail Lucknow supplied thousands of masks to transport department, CGHS Hospital Lucknow, Balrampur Hospital, Reserve Police Line, Lucknow and many more. The prisoners and jail staff of model Jail Lucknow feel proud of their contribution to the society. About 60 prisoners are stitching masks and 50,000 mask are made till date, said RN Pandey, superintendent Model Jail Lucknow.
According to Public Relation Officer, Prison Santosh Verma, the direction of DG Anand Kumar guided the authorities to start mask making on the very first day of Covid 19 epidemic. He foresaw the coming crisis of mask and sanitizers in the market. It is his guidance that Prison department is in the capacity to supply the mask to others. He added that 16 jails of state are producing sanitizer which is consumed by jail only to sanitize the premises.
It is a difficult time for prisoners and their families that they cannot meet at due to total lock down, Hence Prison administration made arrangement for them to talk on the phone to reduce depression among them. However, in the pandemic time jail inmates and staff are serving their duty to fight against corona virus. The jail staff donated one-day salary to Chief Minister Relief Fund. In compliance with the orders of the Supreme Court government decided to free 11,000 prisoners lodged in 71 jails, there are around 8,500 under trials and 2,500 convicts in the jails of the state.
Merely a year back prisons of UP were known for the video leaks showing inmates talking over mobile phone, some are having dawat of chicken biryani and consuming alcohol. There were lot of reports of criminal activities happening in many jails of the state among them Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar jails topped the list. The dreaded criminal Munna Bajrangi was shot dead inside the Baghpat jail, while noted Mafia Mukhtar Ansari was shifted to Ropar jail, Punjab.