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Prison inmates can now chat with their relatives via video-conference

Kolkata: The state Correctional Administration department on Friday introduced e-mulaqat facility through which family members can interact with a prisoner lodged at state prisons through video conference right from their homes.
"There are a number of foreign inmates and also inmates from other states who are lodged at our state prisons. It becomes difficult for their family members to come to the city and meet the inmates. This facility will enable an inmate to speak with his/ her family members through video conference," Ujjal Biswas, state Correctional Administration minister said at the official launch of the service.
The facility kicked off at the Dum Dum Central Correctional Home but the minister reiterated that the department will gradually introduce this at all the 59 correctional homes of the state.
It may be mentioned that the department, keeping in mind the security aspect of the prisons,
will keep the entire conversation through video conference under supervision and will record the same.
"This facility is available in a number of prisons in states like Haryana and Punjab. However, these states have been using public platform for the interaction. We are using the government platform. Our project is a part of e-prison suites which has been developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC)," a senior official of the department said.
The video conference sessions with inmates can be booked online through portal (https://eprisons.nic.in).Once the superintendent approves the online registered visit request as per the prison manual and availability of the inmate, the visitor will be informed about the same through sms/e-mail.
"Video conferencing can also be held through smartphones," the official said. The facility was used by a woman Rina Karmakar to speak with his son Sukumar lodged at Dum Dum Central Correctional Home from the programme venue.
A resident of Laketown Sukumar has been suffering imprisonment on charges of murder
for the last ten years.
"Often it becomes difficult for me to visit the prison and meet my son because of other engagements. Now we can use this facility and talk to my son through smartphones. His aged grandfather and grandmother can also speak to him now," Rina Karmakar said.
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