New Delhi: Keeping in mind the Honduran jail fire that killed over 300 prisoners and resulted in escape of more than 400 inmates, the Home Ministry recently conducted a safety check in Tihar jail to test the preparedness of prison authorities in emergency situations like fire and earthquake.

Sources said that the surprise check was conducted at the country's largest prison on March 15.

This, they said, was conducted keeping in mind the fire in the overcrowded Honduran prison in Central America last month that led to the death of 356 inmates and escape of 475 inmates.

With its capacity of 6,000 inmates, Tihar prison remains overcrowded as it has over 12,000 inmates at any given point of time.

Inmates lodged in Tihar have been held in heinous crimes like multiple murders, drug racketing, rapes. Some are undertrials while others have been convicted. Their protection is important. That is why this surprise check was conducted in the evening of March 15, they said.

Last month, a mega mock drill was conducted for the first time in jails to check the preparedness of its staff in dealing with natural calamities like earthquake.

Sources said that in a mega mock drill the prison authorities are expected to be fully prepared. But the aim of this surprise audit was to test if the vigil is the same at any point of time, they said.

"A check was conducted in our prisons in the evening of March 15. It was conducted to check for our preparedness for any exigencies. Authorities were satisfied that all arrangements were in place," Tihar Prisons spokesperson Sunil Gupta said.