Planning a party and scouting for a venue? Why not consider the prison in town? If the Kerala government has its way, the more than a century old Viyyur Central Jail in the heart of Thrissur could soon be the venue for rocking gatherings, complete with food catered by jail inmates, who would also be kind enough to serve. And no, guests will not be cooped up inside cells, the bash would be on the sprawling and ambiguously named Freedom Park located on the jail campus.
Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan will soon be inaugurating the Freedom Park, a recreational facility set amid manicured gardens. Located on the Viyyur Central Jail campus, the park will be maintained and run by prisoners, who will also be in charge of the lip-smacking vegetarian and non-vegetarian food that will be on offer. The lush green surroundings, fancy lights and cosy seating arrangements is expected to be a big hit with local residents.
“This is for the first time in the state that a park is being set up for the public inside a jail where they can relax with their friends and family members and pamper their tastebuds with a wide variety of seasonal Kerala cuisine prepared in the kitchens here to suit the tastes of the local people,” said M K Vinodkumar, the Viyyur Central Jail superintendent.
The 138-year-old park, which was languishing in neglect, has been given a facelift without doing away with the existing trees. All utilities and amenities have been planned keeping in mind minimal damage to the environment. A jail-run counter, modelled like a Kettuvallam (traditional houseboat), has been built, from where visitors would be able to buy refreshments.
A huge fountain resembling a fish has also been installed, besides small huts made out of woven coconut fronds.
To start with, the park will be the venue of official parties hosted by jail authorities. The jail authorities have also sought permission from the state government to rent out the park to the public to host parties in, the superintendent said, adding that an e-toilet would also be built on the campus in cooperation with the Thrissur Corporation.