ECONOMYNEXT- Opposition MP Lakshman Kiriella is charging that said that the Prison turned quarantine centre in Bogambara Prison is posing a threat to the city of Kandy and the whole district.
Kiriella told reporters this morning that the new quarantine centre established in the former Bogambara Prison with 800 prison inmates is a threat to Kandy as it is situated in the centre of the city and its staff are interacting with the city daily.
The Kandy Prison has been moved to Pallekelle and Bogambara is being described by the Prison’s Department as a Transit Centre for incoming inmates.
Several hundred inmates of the facility have tested positive for Covid, the Prison’s Commissioner said last night.
Further, Kiriella said that during the Yahapalana government the Bogambara Prison was expected to be developed as a tourist attraction but the current government has turned it to a quarantine centre rejecting those plans
He also added that the government without a proper discussion arbitrarily has brought 800 prisoners to quarantine in Bogambara Prison creating an opportunity to spread the virus in Kandy.
“So we request the government to take this quarantine centre to another place,” Kiriella said.
Speaking to EconomyNext, Media Spokesman for Department of Prisons Chandana Ekanayake said that there is no threat of spreading COVID-19 in the Kandy city through the Bogambara Prison through staff as they are not allowed to interact with outsiders and as they have been given quarters within the prison premises.
However, he did not comment on the number of COVID-19 cases reported from the Bogambara Prison.
According to State Minister of Prison Reforms and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Dr Sudharshini Fernandopulle new male prisoners are first moved to the Old Bogambara Prison for quarantine and visitors have been barred from entering the prisons.
Last week a group of 50 inmates at the Bogambara Prison staged a protest by climbing onto the roof of the prison calling on authorities to subject the inmates at the to PCR tests due to a spread of the coronavirus within the jail.
As of yesterday, a total of 437 COVID-19 cases were reported from Sri Lanka’s Prisons across the country.
During the previous government, it was planned to transform Bogambara Prison into a multi-use building with some cells and rooms turned into shops, some into shared workspaces and some turned into budget accommodation with Japanese assistance. (Colombo/Nov16/2020)
Reported by Imesh Ranasinghe