KATHMANDU, Sept 16: The risk of infectious diseases has increased due to overcrowding in theKathmandu District Jail. There are currently 75 inmates at the prison with the capacity to house only 25 inmates. “Among them, 42 are prisoners and the rest are detainees,” said prison chief Anil Tiwari.
According to Tiwari, the risk of contagious diseases has increased at the district jail as the number of inmates are thrice more than its accommodation capacity. “Maintaining a proper social distance is not even possible here. We have placed some tents inside the jail. There are a lot of challenges in managing the jail,” he said. “We have set up eight beds inside the tents and arranged accommodation for 13 people there. Due to the lack of space, three inmates are sleeping on one bed.”
Similarly, the prisoners have been facing problems in using toilets and sanitation facilities as well. Due to the increased risk of the corona infection, visitors are also not allowed in the jail. “Even though everyone is vaccinated, the risk of transmission is still high, so we have not allowed visitors,” Tiwari said. “In case of emergency, we check the PCR report of tests carried out within 72 hours and COVID-19 vaccination card of the visitors.”
Dr Basanta Raj Joshi, chief of the Kathmandu District Hospital said that there is an increased risk of contagious infections as more prisoners are kept in a smaller space. According to him, tuberculosis and respiratory problems are more likely to be seen in such places. The lack of reconstruction of old and dilapidated buildings has also added to the security challenge. The prison built in 2040 BS has become dilapidated due to the lack of reconstruction.
Though an estimated cost of reconstruction was sent to the Prison Management Department, it has not decided anything yet. Tiwari said, “We estimated the reconstruction cost at Rs 40 million. However, the construction of the new building has not been decided yet.” The Nepal Army has taken charge of prison security.