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Feb 18, 2009

Prisoners Donate Eyes

Director-General of Police (Prisons) R. Nataraj (second right) handing over the eye-donation pledge forms signed by prisoners to Medical Officer Dr. Sri Shankar (left) of Aravind Eye Care Systems at the Coimbatore Central Prison on Tuesday. Director General of Police (Prisons) R. Nataraj on Tuesday handed over papers relating to the pledging of eyes by 143 inmates of the Coimbatore Central Prison to the Medical Officer of Aravind Eye Care Systems, Dr.Sri Shankar.

Mr. Nataraj said that for the first time in the country, prisoners have come forward to donate their eyes. He said that such a trend should spread to other prisons as well. One can better their life only through the willingness and volition to help others in need. Mr. Nataraj handed over 1,000 Thirukkural books sponsored by the Master Printers, Coimbatore, to the prisoners. He said that the deep rooted thoughts in the couplets should be a guiding force for the inmates to learn, understand and follow them in their life. Prisoners, especially on their discharge, should follow the thoughts and lofty ideals in Thirukkural couplets, he said.

Mr. Nataraj in the presence of Superintendent of Prisons, Coimbatore Central Prison, P. Govindarajan, inaugurated the isolation block of the prison hospital constructed at a cost of Rs. 22.63 lakhs. Mr. Nataraj handed over black boards and writing materials for the literacy programmes of the inmates. Later talking to reporters, Mr.Nataraj said that valarkalvi was being implemented in almost all the 10 sub-jails with a view to impart literacy to over 400 inmates. He said that only 30 per cent of the prisoners had formal education.

The prison administration was making efforts to provide basic and formal education to illiterate prisoners and higher education besides vocational skills to ensure employability to those with basic education. Mr. Nataraj said that the Prison Department has written to the Government for enhancing the emergency leave for the convict prisoners from 15 days to 30 days. On the issue of granting emergency leave for undertrial prisoners, he said that there were no legal powers but however the idea was being scrutinised. On the Victims Compensation Fund, Mr. Nataraj said that Rs. 20 lakhs had been received out of the Rs. 4 crore and discussions were on to finalise the modalities for putting the funds into best use.

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