VISAKHAPATNAM: The prisoners of Visakhapatnam Central Jail would start cultivating herbal plants on the prison premises as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Department of Prisons, Andhra Pradesh, with the Himalaya Drug Company.
With a view to create a skill development programme for the prisoners of Visakhapatnam Central Jail, the MoU was signed by Inspector General of Prisons (Government of Andhra Pradesh) B Sunil Kumar and Himalaya Drug Company’s Phytochemistry Research and Development head VU Babu here Tuesday.
The Visakhapatnam Central Prison would be the second one in the state to get such an opportunity after the inmates of Anantapur Central Prison raised Alfalfa plants for the drug company earlier.
Under this contract, the prison department would undertake cultivation of two medicinal plants - Kalmegh Andrographics Paniculata) and Drumstick (Moringa Oleifera), initially in 2 acres of land at the Visakhapatnam Semi Open Prison for the Himalaya Company. The AP government would provide the infrastructure, irrigation facilities, electricity supply and farming equipment. The prisoners would take part in the work according to the need and will be given daily wages.
The company itself would supply the seeds, while trainers from Himalaya Research and Development in Bangalore would extend technical support and impart training to the inmates, if needed.
Addressing the mediamen, B Sunil Kumar thanked the Himalaya authorities for the MoU and said that on behalf of the state government, they would provide manpower, land and required equipment for the project.
The main objective of the programme is to engage prisoners in work simultaneously to provide rehabilitation facility so that they could become skilled labourers and can work independently upon their release. More such projects would be taken up in jails in the coming days to reform the prisoners. Meanwhile, phone facility for prisoners would be extended to all jails, including sub-jails, by January 15, 2015, he informed.
Babu said that the programme was introduced in Visakhapatnam Central Prison after the similar programme at Anantapur Central Prison yielded good results. Visakhapatnam Central Jail SP I Sreenivas Rao also spoke.