Tihar Jail has opened a first-of-its-kind automotive manufacturing unit in Tihar Jail number 2 which will offer various livelihood options for the inmates. South Asia’s biggest prison has always been keen on starting various initiatives to keep the inmates busy and help them lead a better life in the future. Read more to know what all the jail authorities have been doing to encourage the convicts.
The (in)famous Tihar jail which hosts over 11,000 inmates will soon have India’s first ever manufacturing unit of automotive components inside a jail. The small automotive workshop in jail number two of Tihar Jail, Delhi was inaugurated by Director General of Delhi Prison Alok Verma last month.
Set up by Minda Furukawa Electric Pvt. Ltd (MFE), a joint venture company between Spark Minda, Ashok Minda Group of India and Furukawa of Japan, the manufacturing unit will be run by the prison inmates and will provide them training and employment opportunities.
“The inmates will profit in both the long term and short term working here. They’ll be paid wages and will gain special work experience which will be very useful for them to rehabilitate themselves after completing their term here,” Delhi Prison’s DIG and PRO Mukesh Prasad told PTI.
The unit will initially hire 30-35 inmates, which will be gradually increased in the future. The jail convicts will manufacture Wire Harness, an important automotive component.
“This initiative will certainly produce a sustainable collaborative social business model, which will benefit the convicts of Tihar Jail and their families also,” Chief Marketing Officer of the Spark Minda Group said.
This is not the first time Tihar has done something like this to provide better livelihood options to its inmates. The jail, which was opened in 1958 with a capacity to host 1273 inmates, soon became the largest prison complex in South Asia. It has nine central jails apart from a district jail at Rohini, which was commissioned in 2004.
Earlier this year in July, Tihar Jail opened a restaurant for the public which served delicious food prepared by the jail convicts. The indoor-outdoor restaurant with a seating capacity of 45 was decorated by beautiful art painted by prisoners on the wall.
The restaurant’s small staff of eight consisted of a constable manager and seven criminals who were mostly charged with murders but proved themselves deserving of an opportunity to redeem themselves with good behaviour over time. The cooking, cleaning, serving, etc. of the restaurant which is connected to the prison store that sells prison-made goods such as cookies, pickles, potato chips and clothing, is taken care of by the convicts.
Starting a new life
Out of the many who are serving their term in prison, there are some inmates who are looking for a better life, a second chance to change their fate. And, the jail authorities have time and again given this opportunity to the convicts.
Nalini Sriharan’s is one such story of change. She was sent to jail in 1991 for assassinating Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minster of India. She decided to use her time in custody to study and became the first prisoner to get a Master’s Degree in computer application with a distinction from Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) in 2009.
Nalini spent 19 years in jail productively by focusing on building her skills. She has managed to complete certificate courses in food and nutrition and computer education, a preparatory programme in computer applications, a diploma in computer studies and a certificate course in tailoring. IGNOU also stopped taking fees from the inmates to encourage them to study and build a brighter future.
For those who do not wish to study further, Tihar Jail has various small scale units that encourage inmates to work and learn, including the handloom centre, baking school, carpentry classes, music and meditation sessions, shoe factory, hair academy, and various vocational training centres. These initiatives have also been earning quite a bit of revenues for the jail.
What started as a small project to keep jail inmates busy is now a bigger brand TJ which actively participates in various trade fairs across Delhi. Initially started with just cookies and bakery items, TJ now receives big orders of designer clothes, candles, etc.
The latest development
With the launch of a new micro-scale manufacturing unit, Tihar Jail inmates have yet another opportunity to enhance their skills and get decent wages. The jail authorities plan to expand this initiative once the production reaches its full capacity.
MFE will contribute 10 per cent towards Tihar’s baking school on total wages, along with electric charges on actual usage bases. A 100×30 feet shed has been provided to MFE along with other required facilities for which MFE will be paying monthly rent of Rs. 10 per square feet. The rent will be increased by 10 per cent every year. The products manufactured by the inmates will be supplied to MFE’s important customer, Maruti Suzuki India Limited.
The various initiatives keep the inmates busy and make them forget the fact that they are living a in jail. Though convicted of various crimes, there is still a hope that these criminals could live a better life within the walls of Tihar Jail, and outside of it.