Nagpur: Around 140 inmates of the Central Prison in Nagour were given State Bank of India (SBI) ATM cards on Wednesday for use inside the premises, with plans to extend the service to all 800 prisoners of the facility.
The cards were given to select inmates by Maharashtra Additional Director General of Police (Prisons), Dr Bhushan Kumar Upadhyaya and the SBI Deputy General Manager, Nagpur Zone, B Shankar in the presence of Jail Superintendent Yogesh Desai and Assistant GM, SBI, Nagpur Zone, Rakesh Sinha.
Upadhyaya said over 10,000 inmates in nine Central prisons across Maharashtra will be extended the facility. Nagpur has been chosen as a pilot project, he said.
The inmates can swipe the cards in the canteen to purchase daily use items like soaps, hair oil, eatables etc against the payment they receive for doing works on the premises.
The inmates can also use the cards once they are released after serving their terms, Upadhyaya said adding it will inculcate a habit of savings among them.
Any prisoner can spend up to Rs 2,500 per month. Their relatives can also deposit in their respective saving bank accounts up to Rs 2,500 which is the monthly upper limit for inmates, he said.
Shankar said the SBI might tie up for similar smart card facility in other Central Prisons in the State. Upadhyaya also said prisoners practising Yoga are entitled for remission up to a maximum of three months.
"Since Yoga has been adopted by the United Nations and Yoga Day is celebrated on June 21, the facility is being extended to them," he added.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited the Central Prison here on June 21 last and practised Yoga with the inmates.
To a question, Upadhyaya said actor Sanjay Dutt, who is to be released from Yerwada Prison Pune on February 25, won't be able to get the benefit due to short period left before he is released.
The ADG said jail authorities have written to the state government to improve the health facilities in the prison.
Efforts are on to engage NGOs for conducting health check up camps on regular basis in the wake of sudden death of a young prisoner recently, he said. He further said the security in and around (Nagpur) Jail has been tightened and 117 CCTV are being installed to monitor the movements of inmates after some of them fled last year. Of these, 97 CCTV cameras have so far been installed, he said.
A high-level meeting chaired by the CM will be held shortly on overall scenario of prisons as the state government seeks Israel's help in beefing up the security in and around jails, he said.