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Portable jammers in Punjab to keep check on prisoners

After shifting a number of gangsters to ‘no-phone network’ zones in a Bathinda prison, the Punjab Jails Department is now experimenting with the installation of portable mobile phone jammers in barracks where notorious inmates are lodged.

The Jails Department has reached an understanding with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for this unique process to check cellphone usage. The BSNL, which is the national telephone service provider, has produced small jammers that can block cellphone signals in a given area.The large phone jammers installed earlier inside the jails had failed due to multiple reasons. Their technology needed regular upgrade as jails had presently 2G jammers while phone network was 4G now. The jammers were expensive too. They did not cover the entire jail premises but interfered with the network of civilians living in the vicinity.

The small jammers will be used for a specific area like a barrack or a cell where a notorious criminal or an inmate listed as a habitual offender for the use of phones was lodged.

Initially, in a pilot project, these jammers are being installed in the Patiala Central Jail, said ADGP (Prisons) PK Sinha. “We have asked the BSNL to showcase the efficacy of the jammers. If successful, we will instal these in all jails.”

The Jails Department is struggling to check the menace of mobile phone usage for long now. As a number of gangsters were using phones besides causing other troubles for the jail staff, the department has now shifted them to one prison.

“Ninety per cent of prisoners do not cause much trouble but equal number of jail staff is on toes to manage the remaining 10 per cent inmates, which includes gangsters, that is why we shifted them to ‘dead’ or ‘ no-phone network’ zones in the Bathinda jail,” Sinha said.

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