Govt asked to clarify on policy of no construction near jails

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Taloja-jailObserving that security of jails is the responsibility of state authority and it is not proper to put restrictions on private constructions in the vicinity, the Bombay High Court today asked the government to clarify if its policy of no construction upto 500 meters around a jail would apply to ongoing constructions.

The Maharashtra government had on December 4, 2013 issued a Government Resolution stating that no construction would be allowed upto 500 meters around any jail in the state. The policy was issued with security of prison inmates in mind.

A division bench of Justices N H Patil and V L Achiliya was today informed about this policy decision and also that stop work notices have been issued to 13 buildings which are being presently constructed in the vicinity of the Taloja jail in Navi Mumbai.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the Malegaon 2008 blast case, raising concerns about existing and under-construction high-rises that pose a security threat to the inmates of Taloja jail.

The bench was informed that the 13 buildings are beyond the earlier buffer zone of 182 meters from the jail but were within the new 500 meters zone. The court then sought to know from the government if the GR would have a prospective effect or would also effect any ongoing construction.

“You (government) need to take some urgent steps and clarify this. Otherwise private persons are at a loss. They will continue investing in properties and one day the construction will be bull dozed,” the court observed.

The court, while directing the government to hold meetings and clarify this, also asked CIDCO to file an affidavit giving details of the 13 buildings on January 20.

The court also asked the government to consider the jail issue with as much priority as it gives to other public projects. “The basic needs of the prison inmates also have to be met. You (government) need to balance this,” court said.