Authorities pass buck as Tihar Jail faces water crunch

April 2nd, 2008 - 6:01 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Seven prisoners lodged in Tihar Jail here died of dehydration last year. This year, barely at the start of summer, a severe water shortage has hit the prison again. The authorities blame the Delhi Jal Board. According to international standards set for prisons, an inmate requires 135 litres of water each day. But merely 30 litres of water is being supplied to each prisoner in Tihar.

The high-security jail now has 11,605 inmates, though it was designed for 6,250. Inmates include 61 children - 31 boys and 30 girls - below six.

Acting on a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report that prisoners were getting very little water, the Delhi High Court Tuesday directed the jail authorities to file a comprehensive reply by April 18 on the increasing water woes and the steps planned to deal with the situation.

“We have been facing a perennial problem of adequate water supply including safe drinking water. We have written several times to the Delhi Jal Board, but nothing concrete emerged,” Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta told IANS.

“We are only getting a meagre supply of 20 water tankers, when the requirement is much more,” Gupta added.

He said the authorities have taken adequate measures for this season and would be tapping groundwater through hand pumps and bore wells.

“The groundwater would be treated through the reverse osmosis process to make it potable. It will be then made available to inmates for drinking,” said Gupta.

“We have also repaired the water coolers and prisoners can have chilled water.”

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