HYDERABAD: It may sound too ambitious, but by no means impossible. The Telangana State Prisons Department is aiming to compete with one of the country’s top consumer goods company — Patanjali Ayurved Limited. Not just competing, the department officials are even talking about eclipsing the well-established company by spreading their ‘business’ and of course, with profit making too.So what is inspiring these prison officials to make tall claims and set taller targets. It is their own efforts in implementing various initiatives, not to forget the successful prison reforms, and that of the inmates.
According to VK Singh, Director General of State Prisons Department, the department had made good profits in the past year and is now hoping for even better profits in the coming years.Addressing the department’s annual press conference on Thursday, when he briefed the media about their activities in 2017-2018, VK Singh, said: “Our department has successfully launched several commercial activities.”
“The department, which is marching towards self-sufficiency, achieved `495.85 crore turnover and earned a net profit of `16.72 crore last year. The department is eyeing `30 crore net profit in 2019 and is aiming to compete with Patanjali stores,” he said.
“We already have 950 My Nation outlets across the State that sell several products produced by the prisoners. They include powdered spices, bakery products, ready-made food and many others. We want to have 10,000 stores in the coming years and beat Patanjali stores,” he added.
The department, however, had failed in their proposal to close five sub-jails. To its credit the department succeeded in its plan to launch 17 petrol stations and to provide employment for the prisoners.However, the prisons department failed in their ambitious plan to start fuel stations to provide employment for the transgenders.
The department’s another ambitious plan to rent out prison cells to other states too has not materialised.
“The proposals are waiting for the governments’ approval. We have done our job, it is up to the governments to decide now,” VK Singh said. Meanwhile, Director General of Prisons also informed that during the last year 76,443 offenders were lodged in Telangana prisons and more than 50,000 of them were jailed for driving under the influence of alcohol.
“At present there are just 5,608 prisoners lodged in all the prisons in the State and majority of them are jailed for drunk driving,” he said.“Though we are able to reform a lot of prisoners through our novel initiatives and prevent them from committing the crime again, the same is not the case with those lodged for drunk driving violations. They are becoming repeat or habitual offenders. The reason is that the time which they spend in the jail is less than a week,” he explained.