State plans 4 new prisons

Bid to ease overcrowding of jails due to steep rise in crime

The Government told the Council on Monday that it will set up new prisons in Bellary, Bangalore, Mysore and Belgaum to ease the burden on the jails in the State.

Replying to a question by BJP member, Lehar Singh Siroya, Minister for Prisons A Narayanaswamy admitted that the prisons in the State were overcrowded as cases of crime were on the rise. The State has decided to construct new prisons in the four cities, he said.

Earlier, the government came under attack from the Opposition regarding a question over the security and illegal activities in the prisons.

R V Venkatesh and a few members from JD(S) raised questions regarding the security in jails, stating that some of the inmates had been communicating with terrorist groups operating outside India and no action had been taken against them. The members even demanded that the security in jails be handed over to the Central Industrial Security Force.

When the Minister said the State Government was installing jammers in the prisons to prevent use of cellphones, the Opposition lashed out at the government, saying this reply had become cliched for the past five years.

Home Minister R Ashoka, coming to the defence of the Prisons Minister, said already Rs nine crore had been released for works to introduce jammers and step up security in prisons.
Narayanaswamy, pointing out that there were instances of mobile phones being thrown inside the prisons from outside to help inmates, said more watch towers would be constructed to keep a tab on such activities.

Naxals
The government said that it is ready to help those Naxals who want to give up arms and return to the mainstream of society. It has promised to provide employment to them.

Replying to a question by Kiran Karnik (BJP), on behalf of Bharathi Shetty, Home Minister R Ashoka said those Naxals who want to surrender will be given a compensation of Rs one lakh and a loan of Rs one lakh from a co-operative society to ensure they are self-employed.

If the Naxals surrender their weapons, the government will pay the worth of the weapons to the ultras. Earlier, Leader of the Opposition, Motamma, raised the issue of the slow pace of implementation of the Naxal package.

She said the State had not taken the matter seriously. Ashoka said the Government wanted the Naxals to give up their arms voluntarily and join the mainstream of society.

Foreign students
The Government said it will get in touch with the embassies of those countries whose students are involved in criminal activities here. Replying to a question by BJP member Mohan Limbikai, Ashoka said 62 complaints had been lodged against foreign students for indulging in various criminal activities, four of which pertain to narcotics.

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