Gangtok, April 24:
The State Government has sanctioned Rs 90 lakh for acquisition of land for construction of two district Sub-Jails, one each at West and North districts. The Home Department transferred the sanctioned amount for land acquisition to the Land Revenue and Disaster Management Department on a priority basis, it is informed.
The sanction came after the Sikkim High Court initiated a PIL hearing on condition of inmates and housing and other facilities including infrastructure available in Sikkim since 2015.
The division bench of the High court today directed the State Buildings and Housing Department to prepare a contour map of West as well as North districts on or before 30 Apr 2018 and submit it to the concerned Authority for further action.
The bench further directed that thereafter, the concerned authorities are to complete preparation of the Detailed Project Report [DPR] and Blueprint Plan within two weeks i.e. by 15 May 2018 next month and submit it for further action.
Chief Justice SK Agnihotri and Justice Meenaskhi Madan Rai also further directed that the concerned authorities consider suggestions made by the Jail Authorities inclusive of the structures for skill development, detoxification and rehabilitation of Under Trail Prisoners of substance abuse and medical clinics with separate accommodation for males and females, library and room for Para Legal Volunteers besides what rectified order may be deemed necessary for proper functioning of the Jail, adding that arrangements may also be considered for outdoor recreation and organic farming for the inmates.
At present, Sikkim has only one district jail - at Namchi in South Sikkim - and one Central Jail at Rongyek in East Sikkim.
The land which was earlier acquired for the construction of a district jail at Omchung, Gyalshing in West Sikkim fell under subsidence zone and was found unsuitable for construction. There is no proposal for a district jail in North Sikkim as of now.
While the construction of the sub jail had been taken up in the year 2005-06, it was only 6 years later that the government woke up to the fact that there had been a miscalculation and wrong assessment of the project leading to the constitution of a fact finding committee.
In May 2012, the State government had set up a committee to examine the issues with regard to the damages of District Prison at Omchung, Gyalshing. The high powered committee was headed by the Secretary, Roads & Bridges department as chairman and included Secretaries of Buildings & Housing, Water Security and PHED, the Principal Director, Mines and Geology; DIG, Prisons; Additional Secretary, Land Revenue and the Chief Engineer, Building & Housing.
With the identification of a new location for construction of new District Sub-Jails, a detailed geological report has also been given by the State Mines and Geology Department with a rider to take precautionary measures as suggested by them.