By Purushottam P. Khatri
Kathmandu, Jan. 29: The government is preparing to move 1,500 inmates to an under-construction open jail in Nuwakot district within next six months, right after the prison gets ready for internment of the convicts.
“The government has a plan to relocate 1,500 jailbirds from the present Central Jail located at Jagannath Dewal in Kathmandu to Khampa Camp in Bidur Municipality-6 Nuwakot initially,” Nuwakot Jailer Laxmi Acharya Parajuli told The Rising Nepal on Tuesday.
Relocation of 1,500 inmates will be just for the time being, until the final works conclude there and after the completion of the infrastructure, the jail will house over 7,000 inmates at one time, Jailer Parajuli said.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has a plan to operate the prison in Nuwakot under the concept of open jail.
So far, over 75 per cent construction works of the prison in Nuwakot have been completed and shifting of 1,500 inmates would only be possible if the construction works go ahead at a war-footing level, she said.
“We would have transferred the inmates a month ago if the works had been accomplished in time, but this could not happen due to halt of works for three months,” she said.
The present Central Jail in Kathmandu has been housing 3,193 prisoners as of the record of mid-October, 2019.
According to Joint Secretary and spokesperson Kedarnath Sharma at the Ministry of Home Affairs, the construction works of the open jail in Nuwakot should have been completed by mid-October, 2019. However, the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, citing various reasons, has not been executing work on time, Sharma said.
“I don’t know how long it will take to complete the whole project as I have not received report about the project yet from the Department of Prison Management,” Sharma said. “But, as far as I know major construction works have already been finished, and only some plaster works, compound wall construction, and furnishing are left to be done,” he said.
The government, through a cabinet meeting on April 3, 2014, had decided to relocate the present Central Jail of Kathmandu to Nuwakot by developing it as an open jail.
Out of 32 separate blocks (houses) of the prison, construction of 29 blocks has been completed, said Jailer Parajuli.
The government has been constructing this prison in an area of 539 ropani of land at Khampa Camp in Bidur Municipality-6.
Build under the open jail concept, the prison in Nuwakot includes a hospital, playground, children-park, school, rehabilitation centre, security office, and quarters with modern facilities.
The present Jagannath Dewal jail in Sundhara was constructed in 1914 A.D. and it is currently in a dilapidated condition and has been overcrowded, raising genuine security concerns.
Of the total inmates in the present Central Jail, 2,765 are males, 428 females and 207 foreigners and 15 dependents.
Similarly, Nakhhu jail at present has been housing 1563 inmates and the Dillibazaar jail 617 inmates.
There are 74 prisons in 72 districts of the country. Dhanusha, Bara and Bhaktapur districts have no jail.
Several taskforces and over half a dozen committees formed in the past had suggested the government to permanently relocate the Central Jail.