State govt to have new dept for prisons

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The Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Francis D’Souza, has said that the state cabinet on Thursday decided to create a new department for prisons in the state whose headquarters has been planned to be set up at Curca along with an open prison

PANAJI: The Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Francis D’Souza, has said that the state cabinet on Thursday decided to create a new department for prisons in the state whose headquarters has been planned to be set up at Curca along with an open prison. The department would be headed by Inspector General of Prisons.

Addressing a press conference after chairing the cabinet meeting, Mr D’Souza said that it has been proposed to use the Aguada central jail to house women convicts exclusively, while the Mapusa judicial lock-up would be used to incarcerate under trial youths between the ages of 18 and 21 years.

The Deputy Chief Minister further said that the new Colvale jail would be used to imprison only male convicts, while the Sada sub-jail would be used for holding under trials above 21 years of age. He said that an open prison is a new concept aimed at reforming the criminals.

Later, responding to a query on whether there was any proposal to release prisoners on the occasion of Liberation Day celebrations, he said that 10-15 prisoners qualify for release and their case would be studied by the Prison Sentencing Review Committee, which would take a decision on it. He said that he was not aware of any proposal to release any prisoner. Mr D’Souza said that while releasing the prisoners the state government would have to take into consideration the recent Supreme Court decision by which it has said that a life term meant that a person would have to spend total life in jail and the law department would study the issue.

The cabinet also cleared a proposal to create 42 posts in the directorate of women and child department so as to meet the demand of the department in view of the creation of Dharbandora taluka and increased load on the existing staff in view of implementation of various schemes announced by the Bharatiya Janata Party government, he said. The Deputy Chief Minister went on to add that 35 of the new recruits in the department would be placed at the headquarters in Panaji while seven would be deputed at the new office at Dharbandora.

The cabinet also cleared the appointment of Dr M Sangodkar as the new member of the Goa Public Service Commission. Besides, another proposal to extend the services of three assistant accounts officers in agriculture department also got clearance from the cabinet.

Mr D’Souza also said that the cabinet has approved a proposal to extend the services of 257 people employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme and also increase their emoluments. The cabinet also cleared another proposal to curtail the employment of 214 others as their services were not required and to save the scheme from being overburdened.

Later answering questions from the reporters, Mr D’Souza said that the financial position of the state was all right as far as he was concerned as all the departments headed by him had enough funds and all his proposals were cleared. As regards to common cadre in the municipalities, he said that rules were not framed as some issues relating to pensionary and other benefits, provident fund etc were yet to be sorted out and as such there was a slight delay in forming common cadre. He, however, said that the issues would be sorted out soon and decision would be implemented.