Friday, November 16, 2007


State Jail gets a computer from the Governor

GANGTOK, November 15: It was a special day for the inmates of the State prison here at Rongyek today when the Governor Sudarshan Agarwal came visiting.

For the inmates, the visit brought some Diwali cheer and a refreshing change from the humdrum of static prison life.

It was the first ever visit to the State prison made by the head of the State.

What was supposed to be a routine visit turned out to be an interesting experience for both the Governor and the inmates, and for the jail authorities, a little lesson in effective management.

He was accompanied by the Home Secretary Jasbir Singh and other state government officials.

The location of the State Jail, amidst quiet and serene surroundings impressed the Governor and he was quick to suggest that the area could be further enhanced.

This was followed by a freewheeling interaction of the Governor with the inmates, during which he became aware of the fact there were many educated prisoners serving their sentences here. This prompted him to announce that he would be donating a computer to the jail so that the educated inmates could equip themselves with some technical knowledge while they were here.

While the Governor visited every cell and barrack, he was quick to notice that an obsolete black and white TV provided entertainment to the inmates. He directed the jail authorities to replace the old model with a new colour one.

Mr. Agarwal also made it a point to inspect the kitchen and the toilets. In the Jail kitchen, he wanted to take a look at the daily menu, which consisted of regular fare like rice, dal and some vegetables. “Some sweets must be also provided to the inmates. I suggest you add a sweetmeat to every meal,” he told the authorities.

Presently, there are a total of 179 inmates at Rongeyk, out of which 86 are convicts while the rest are undertrials. There are only four female inmates in the State Jail at the moment.

Interestingly, the inmates here are provided ample opportunities to learn some skills that would come handy to them later in their lives. The inmates are efficiently managing a tea garden and an agricultural farm and are also apt at skills like envelope making, tailoring, handicrafts, handlooms, weaving and fisheries. “We provide them with training after identifying their caliber,” the SP, Jail, Yup Tshering Bhutia, said.

Moreover, the skilled inmates are paid a wage of Rs 15 per day while the unskilled inmates are paid Rs 12 per day. “The jail authorities are very good and supportive. It is like a home now,” one of the inmates, who has been convicted of murder, said while interacting with SIKKIM EXPRESS.

According to the authorities, the inmates are also encouraged to participate in various cultural activities and physical exercises including the indoor and outdoor sport activities such as badminton, chess, volley ball, basket ball, cricket etc., every morning and evening. Entertainment including TV and activities such as Yoga and Pranayam are part of the regular routine.

The Governor will be visiting West Sikkim from tomorrow.