Himachal Pradesh launched first ‘Website having Video-Conferencing Facility’ in the Country at all prisons in the State. Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh launched this Website of Prisons and Correctional Administration Department here in Shimla, which had provided computerized video conferencing facility in the prisons.
Virbhadra Singh said that this website would not only facilitate the staff of Prisons Department & Judiciary but would also provide an easy access to general people regarding inmates of prisons and welfare activities taking place inside the prisons. He said that now the relatives and friends of prisons inmates can interact with them by utilizing video-conferencing facility. He said that not only Indians but even foreigners can avail this facility from any part of the world. It would also save time and money to be spent on travelling.
Chief Minister applauded the Prisons Department and National Informatics Centre (NIC) for introducing latest state of art technology first time in the country. He said that it was appreciable that some Courts are also utilizing this facility for granting judicial remands etc. He said that Government of India has already amended Cr. P.C. enabling the Courts to utilize the video conferencing facility between Jails and Courts. He said that it would also help in saving Police manpower from escort duties which could be utilized for other police functioning. About 1500-2000 policemen were doing escort duty daily in the State, he revealed.
Virbhadra Singh said that the objective of Prisons Department has gone change from retribution and deterrence to correction & rehabilitation and now moving for reforms. Prisoners have to be reformed while undergoing sentence so that they could lead a normal life after their release, he said.
Chief Minister said that State Government had taken many initiatives to bring reforms in the prisons. He said that Government has declared one barrack each in six Jails of the State for Open Air Jail facility which includes Jail of Kanda, Nahan, Solan, Mandi, Dharamshala and Chamba. He said that after serving certain years in Jails prisoners can go out of Jails to earn their livelihood and support their family. It would not only reduce their stress level but would also prevent the family members from suffering, he added.
Virbhadra Singh said that computers were provided to all Jails in the State and data was uploaded after implementing e-Prison software. Doordarshan (DTH) facility has been provided to all Jail inmates and arrangements were being made for Yoga, Medical camps, Cultural programmes, spiritual discourses and legal aid camps. He said that music system were provided and PT, Jogging and Bhajans in Jails were introduced to reduce stress level of prisoners besides they were encouraged to pursue National Open School Programme, IGNOU and other skill development programmes.
Chief Minister said that Prisons Stalls were established for the first time at famous Kullu Dussehra, Rampur Lavi, Renuka Fair and Red Cross Fair etc. for the sale of products manufactured by the prisoners such as furniture, wooden products, shawls, carpets, pine needle, blankets etc. He said that recently canteens have been established inside all Jails of the State. He said that sales were quite high in the Jail canteens and turn over of Rs. two lakh was earned in Kanda Jail alone in one month only.
Senior Assistant Inspector General of Prisons Arvind Kumar presented vote of thanks. Chief Secretary Sudripta Roy, Additional Chief Secretary (Home) P. Mitra, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister V.C. Pharka, ADGP Prisons, S.R. Mardi, Senior Technical Director & SIO NIC, Dr. Sourav Gupta, Senior Technical Director Ajay Singh Chahal, Principal System Analyst Sandeep Sood and other officers were present on the occasion.