Jailhouses are rocking across the country as the cricket fever knows no bounds. In the country’s most famous prison Tihar, each of the 180 barracks has a TV set. Even the nine common rooms have one each.”If need be, we will relax our curfew timings for the matches,” says Tihar public relations officer Sunil Gupta. In Chandigarh’s high profile Burail jail, authorities installed 20 TV sets just before the World Cup. The prison authorities are also rooting for cable connections to be installed in some jails and have constituted a committee for it.In the Karnataka Central Prison, 4,300 prisoners can watch TV in their respective barracks, 14 in all. West Bengal is a step ahead with 300 special cable connections already installed across 55 prisons so that jailbirds can watch even matches that Doordarshan doesn’t air. B.D. Sharma, Inspector General of Correctional Services, West Bengal, doesn’t mind the “nominal expense” that the state exchequer has to incur to bring World Cup live to the prisoners. “Some of the inmates even offered to pay for it,” says Sharma.Even the high-security prisoners, otherwise barred from watching TV, have been allowed to see the matches. The 30,000 inmates housed in Bihar jails are not as lucky. They get to watch only India’s matches on Doordarshan.In February, at a small jail in Gulabpura in Bhilwara district in Rajasthan, all the 20 prisoners went on a fast unto death to get a TV set to watch World Cup matches. They finally procured one through a private donor.Rajasthan has 108 jails and while big ones have TV sets, very few sub-jails have them. The state prison authorities are a little stricter with inmates not allowing them to stay up after 10 p.m.advertisementIn Andhra Pradesh too, prisoners are not allowed to watch TV – only Doordarshan – after 10 pm.
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