Kolkata: Correctional homes in West Bengal are all set to have video-conferencing facilities to prevent undertrial prisoners from escaping on way to courts. “This installation of video conferencing is part of enhancement of security apparatus and modernisation programme in correctional homes in Bengal,” state Correctional Department Minister Haider Aziz Safwi said. Eighteen prisons in Bengal will have the facility, which would also be provided in chief judicial magistrate and additional chief judicial magistrate courts, ADG (Prison) Adhir Sharma said.
“We will be starting video conferencing within the next few months. It will be used for undertrial prisoners -mostly those who are notorious and those with high profile. “There have been instances when undertrials have escaped during court production by hoodwinking the police. If there is video conferencing facility then this can be arrested,” he said.
Work on it is on for the past few years following several such instances.
“Video conferencing will help us in other ways too. We will then not have to arrange for extra police officials in the court area for the prisoners' security. It will also help in cutting costs incurred for it,” Sharma said. Work on it had been expedited after instances in which Saradha group chairman Sudipta Sen was abused and faced protests outside court premises while being produced. Employees of Rose Valley group staged protests against the arrest of its chairman Gautam Kundu at Bankshal court in the heart of the city.
“Video conferencing will be able to stop such incidents,” a senior jail official said.
Sharma said a specific court room will be earmarked for installing video-conferencing facilities along with required power connections and Internet facilities. “We have already spoken to BSNL. The installation of these facilities in jails is looked after by our department and in courts it is coordinated by the e-courts projects,” he added.
As per statistics available from the jail authorities there are more than two lakh prisoners in correctional homes across the state. In 2014 there had been lakhs of productions of undertrials in various courts in it.