Nellore: Contrary to the general notion that hardcore criminals in the prisons are worthless and mostly idle, the 450 odd prisoners including 301 convicts in Nellore Central Prison have multiple talents and they have been generating revenue of Rs 2 crore through various production activities.
The inmates have been taking up various agriculture and horticulture activities in the 45 acres earmarked for open prison. In addition to this, they are into dairy and sheep rearing besides producing quality furniture including cupboards in the stainless steel factory run by the prisons department. They are also cultivating medicinal plants and supplying to Himalaya Drugs.
“It is very important to keep the minds of the criminals engaged in one activity or other since their tendency is to create unrest inside if they are idle. As part of this objective, authority makes use of the talents of skilled among prisoners to train the unskilled,” a jail official said.
He said the inmates make sizable money in the process while pointing to Rs 100 paid to skilled, Rs 70 to semi skilled and Rs 50 to unskilled per day as wages.
In case of multiple activities in Nellore Prison, the credit goes to the SP prison M.R. Ravi Kiran and his team of officers for identifying the skills of inmates and putting them into effective use.
According to Mr Ravi Kiran, the state has allotted 89 acres for the central prison and closed prison occupying 25 acres and the balance is being used as semi open jail as well as for agriculture, horticulture, steel factory and also for quarters of the jail staff.
He said the dairy was started with 10 buffaloes last year after borrowing Rs 10 lakh from the departments and their number has gone up to 25 now and 10 cows also added to the herd.
Now, the loan has been repaid and a shed was also built from the returns. In case of 80 odd sheep, Rs 6 lakh funded by the HO was repaid and another Rs 5 lakh loan is secured to increase the size of the shelter.
Every piece of land is put to use and our new production activity is vermi compost and proposals are ready to start a brick unit shortly, Mr Ravi Kiran said.
With respect to medicinal plants, the seed is supplied by Himalaya drugs to produce Alfalfa, lemongrass and few other plants in 2 acres under an agreement for two years.
The new prison is equipped with various facilities including fans, TV sets in every room besides solar water heaters to provide hot water for bathing.
The inmates can talk to their kin twice in a week through phones installed in the jail but all the conversations are recorded to prevent any criminal activity under the guise of talking to family members, Mr Ravi Kiran said.