All eyes on Rajahmundry central jail land
RAJAHMUNDRY: Will the five-century-old central jail remain in the city or will it be shifted to some other place? It is the question doing rounds in the city.Some ruling Congress leaders have urged the state government to shift the central jail from the heart of the city. But the prisons department is against the proposal.Earlier, the director general of prisons had made it clear that there was no move to shift the central jail.The issue arose when some ruling Congress leaders urged the prisons department to allot some land of the central jail for a stadium. But the department rejected the plea citing security reasons. The issue has been pending since the regime of YSR.Rajahmundry MP Vundavalli Aruna Kumar and MLA Routhu Suryaprakasa Rao mooted the proposal of constructing the stadium adjacent to the central jail if land was allotted.Participating in a meeting recently, Aruna Kumar urged the government to shift the central jail to Mallisala village which comes under Jaggampeta Assembly constituency, about 35 km from Rajahmundry. About 500 acres of government land is available in that village.Stamps and registration minister Thota Narasimham who also participated in the meeting, welcomed the MP's proposal of shifting the jail to his Jaggampeta constituency. The entire 196 acres of central jail land can be given to the university or it can be used for a housing scheme or some other purpose, if it is shifted to some other place, they said.The Central Jail is a famous landmark in the city. The government had sanctioned Rs 20 crore for the renovation of central jail from the 13th finance commission funds. It includes construction of a kitchen, a 100-bed hospital and workshops. Though the central jail has 196 acres of land, jail buildings are in 37.24 acres only.Earlier, it was the Dutch fort constructed in 1602. The British regime converted the fort into a jail in 1864. It was upgraded as a central jail in 1870. It has a capacity to lodge 1,648 prisoners. At present 915 convicts, 406 remand prisoners and seven civil detenus are lodged in the jail. If the government wants to shift the jail to Mallisala, Rs 300 crore is needed to construct the buildings with all modern facilities.However, the ruling Congress leaders are keen on getting the jail shifted from Rajahmundry. They are of the view that the jail located in a prime area, does not need so much land.