Flood Water Enters 100-Year-Old Ballia Jail, Close to 900 Prisoners Shifted

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Incessant rains in Uttar Pradesh have damaged crops and flooded large tracts in Alllahabad, Mirzapur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur among others.

New Delhi: Incessant rainfall since Wednesday in Uttar Pradesh has created widespread havoc in several parts of state, with the death toll owing to floods and rain-related incidents mounting to 80. Flood water also entered the Ballia District Jail, forcing the authorities to shift about 850 prisoners to jails in the neighbouring district, Azamgarh.

According to media reports, the Ballia authorities shifted around 500 prisoners to Azamgarh and around 400 to Ambedkar Nagar District Jail on Monday after floodwaters entered the barracks of the district jail. The Ballia District Jail has a capacity of only 350 inmates but was overcrowded with around 850 prisoners lodged there. The jail building is in a dilapidated condition and officials said waterlogging inside the premises was not new. The jail is located in a low-lying area while the height of roads in the area has been raised several feet in recent years.

Ram Ashray Singh, Additional District Magistrate (F.R.), Ballia, told Newsclick: “There were total 868 prisoners, including 44 women in Ballia District Jail in the three barracks, of which 500 were shifted to Azamgarh District Jail at 5 a,m. The rest are being sent to Ambedkar Nagar District Jail,” adding that “this is not new. The jail gets submerged every year and we pump out water.”

He, however, said that this time the rains had been heavy since Wednesday and there was no exit point for water, adding that “the jail is at least 100 years old.”

Singh said “all the barracks have almost four-feet water while the place where the prisoners sleep has about two-feet water. The drains and sewers are also overflowing.”

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Ram Krishan Yadav, a lawyer who resides near Ballia District Jail, told Newsclick, “The district jail was made by the Britishers and since has never been renovated. It is also located in a low- lying area.”

He added that the rains and floods had damaged thousands of hectares of crops. “The situation in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, especially for farmers, is worrisome. The worst-affected places in UP are Ballia, Prime Minister Modi’s constituency Varanasi and Jaunpur, he said.

Meanwhile, incessant rainfall in the state has badly hit normal life, with almost all areas in Prayagraj, Mirzapur, Varanasi, Gorakhpur, etc. under knee-deep water and people struggling to meet their daily needs.

The condition of the low-lying areas of Prayagraj and Assi Ghat of Varanasi is also abysmal. The river Ganga, which was heavily polluted during the Kumbh pilgrimage in the city, has been flowing a few notches above the danger mark in the city. Houses in low-lying areas of both cities continue to be partially submerged in floodwaters.

Last week Newsclick had reported that nearly a hundred houses of weavers and their handlooms and powerlooms shut-in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency Varanasi

Their machines have submerged in the water and more than a hundred weavers have been affected due to the flood. The situation remains the same.

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