Dolakha prison overcrowded

Dolakha, April 16

The District Prison Dolakha in Charikot houses 73 inmates, although it only has the capacity to accommodate 17 prisoners.

Prison Chief Mitrabandhu Tiwari said they had been housing male inmates in the prison building, while female inmates had been sent to Ramechhap.

An inmate at the prison Uttam Thapa said, “The living conditions in this prison is pathetic. We have to stand in long queues for our meals and to use the loo.”Another inmate Kishor Bhandari shared that he had been sleeping in the passageway of the prison for a long time. “We have a queue to sleep in bed too,” he said. For want of space, the prison is running its two administrative sections from the prison verandah.

A new prison building with the capacity to house 100 inmates is currently under-construction. However the construction has been extremely slow, at the cost of the inmates.

Chief of the Building Division Office Charikot Ekraj Adhikari said that the delay in construction was caused by the contractor’s irresponsible behaviour. The contract to construct the prison building had been awarded to Khumpoche Construction in 2012 with an agreement to finish the work within a year. Five years opn, only 55 per cent of the construction has been completed, and the contracting company is out of contact.

Dolakha CDO Yagyaraj Bohora said that negligence on the part of the contractor had delayed the construction. Bohora said his office had issued a directive to the Building Division Office Dolakha to take action against the contractor.  Though the prison has a quota for a section officer, a first-class non-gazetted officer is running the jail as its head. Also, despite a quota for an Assistant Health Worker, the government has yet to send one to the prison.