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LAHORE: The Punjab Prisons Department has awarded Rs369 million worth contract to the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) for installing the mega ‘security surveillance solution’ project at the High-Security Prison, Mianwali.

A well-placed source told Business Recorder that currently there is only one high-security prison (HSP) operational in Sahiwal in which dangerous and high-profile prisoners, particularly those convicted or facing terrorism or sectarianism charges, are confined.

The source said the construction/finishing work for the HSP Mianwali is under way at a “rapid pace” due to overcrowding of the HSP Sahiwal.

According to the source, the digitization of the HSP Mianwali under the mega security surveillance solution project is likely to be completed by the end of June 2022. At present, he said, 27 out of 41 jails have been digitized and their round-the-clock monitoring is being carried out 24/7 at the central control room established at the Inspectorate of the Punjab Prisons.

In this regard, the Punjab Prisons awarded the Rs369 million contracts to the National Radio and Telecommunication Corporation (NRTC) at a meeting between Inspector General for Punjab Prisons Mirza Shahid Saleem Baig and NRTC General Manager (Central) Brig (retired) Syed Muzaffar Ahmed on Tuesday. Assistant Inspector General of Prisons (Establishment) Ahmed Naveed Gondal and Superintendent for HSP Mianwali Siddique Gull were also present in the meeting.

According to the source, the purpose behind the digitization is to ensure real-time surveillance of suspected activities inside and outside of jails in addition to awarding evidence-based punishments to negligent or corrupt officials, compilation of complete data of visitors, inmates and service record of jail officials, including their biometric verifications.

Highlighting silent features of the contract, the source said the NRTC would install scanners, walkthrough gates, CCTV cameras, jammers, flood lights, walkie-talkies and establish a conference room.

It may be mentioned that the NRTC in December last year had expressed its inability to help the prison department in completing its security surveillance project without the clearance of its “hefty” pending dues.

“It is correct that the NRTC has refused to help us completing the project without the clearance of our pending dues but since we are government departments, such issues are not a big deal,” the IG Prisons had commented while talking to Business Recorder.

He had pointed out that they get ‘insufficient’ funds every year as compared to what they propose to the government in the Annual Developmental Programme (ADP) due to which they had to face several (financial) constraints for new initiatives.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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