* Pay special attention to safety and welfare of children of women inmates during the Welikada prison relocation – PM
Tue, Sep 7, 2021, 01:13 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.
Sept 07, Colombo: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday instructed the Department of Prisons and the Urban Development Authority to pay special attention to the children of women inmates during the relocation of the Welikada Prison Complex to Millewa, Horana.
The Prime Minister gave these instructions while participating in a discussion held at Temple Trees through Zoom Technology to review the progress of the project to reestablish the Welikada Prison Complex on a 200 acre land in Millewa, Horana.
Officials of the Urban Development Authority and the Prisons Department expressed confidence to the Prime Minister that this Rs. 30 billion project is expected to be completed by 2024.
State Minister Nalaka Godahewa apprised the Premier that due to the current economic situation in the country, the General Treasury will not allocate funds for projects at this moment and hopes to complete this project through alternative routes without burdening the government.
The Welikada Prison premises in Borella is 40 acres. The Urban Development Authority has already planned to set aside its chapel ward and prison headquarters building for a hotel project. Apart from that, 35 acres of land will be set aside for other investments.
Lohan Ratwatte, State Minister of Prison Management and Prison Rehabilitation, said that several investors have already expressed intention to invest in the projects.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa instructed the officials of the Urban Development Authority to invite other investors, if any, in addition to those who have already expressed their willingness to do so.
The land at Millewe in Horana where the project is being implemented is a rubber land owned by a plantation company. Compensation will be paid to 123 estate workers who worked there. The Urban Development Authority is constructing 57 new houses to replace the 57 estate houses where they used to live.
Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya said that the Magazine Prison will be relocated first in Millewa, and the other prisons and the Welikada gallows will also be taken to Horana.
The Prime Minister pointed out that since the remand prisoners are not guilty, it is appropriate to establish facilities for them when the remand prison is taken to Horana.
The Prime Minister also said that some women prisoners have children with them and special attention should be paid to their welfare and safety.
Accordingly, the Commissioner General of Prisons expressed his confidence to the Prime Minister that when the Women’s Prison is established in Millewa, women inmates with children would be separated and a day care center will be set up for the children.
Magazine, Welikada, Remand and Women’s Prisons will be established at Millewa, Horana under the same names. A prison hospital, a prison training school, a rehabilitation center and a prison intelligence unit will be established in Mille, while a prison headquarters will be set up in Battaramulla and an official quarters in Malabe.
The new prison complex will be built with a focus on security and technology and it will also have the technical facilities to present inmates for trial through video technology from the prison itself.
The Minister of Justice Ali Sabry said while the prison system in Sri Lanka has adequate facilities to hold 11,000 inmates, it currently holds two or three times that number and it is being criticized severely by the international community. He pointed out that the establishment of the Welikada Prison in Borella at Millewa is a must.
Secretary to the Prime Minister Gamini S. Senarath, Secretary to the Ministry of Justice MMPK Mayadunne, Secretary to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing Sirinimal Perera, Secretary, Ministry of Prison Management and Prison Rehabilitation Maj. Gen. (Retd.) VR Silva, Priyanga Nanayakkara, Senior Assistant Secretary to the Prime Minister and a group of officials from the Urban Development Authority were present.