THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The inmates of the Poojappura Central Prison here on Wednesday had a special dish for lunch. Fish curry made of ‘African Mushy’ (cat fish) was served to the inmates.
The fish was cultivated in two large ponds on the prison compound by the inmates. The harvest yielded 150 fish, each with an average weight of two-and-half kg. “It cost only ` 1,000 for the cultivation. But the market value of the whole harvest might come to ` 16,000,” said B Pradeep, Superintendent, Central Prison.
However, the prison authorities, instead of selling the fish, used them in the prison kitchen and made a special dish for the inmates.
Rajendraprasad and Azees, inmates of the prison, were in charge of the fish cultivation. Every day, water of the fish ponds was changed. The fry were brought from Tamil Nadu six months ago.
“We did it on an experimental basis. Since it is a success, we will think about cultivating fish on a commercial basis,” said Pradeep.
ADGP Prisons Alexander Jacob inaugurated the harvest of fish. The prison celebrated the occasion with ‘chenda melam.’
Fish cultivation was one among the ventures of the Central Prison other than ‘chapati’- making, nursery and Christmas star-making.
Poojappura chapati has conquered the market at a fast pace. Availability of a packet of five chapatis for ` 10 and of ten chapatis for ` 20 made it a hit among the middle class and ordinary people. Chapati-making on a commercial basis was launched on November 28, 2011.
The large-scale production of chapatis has been made possible by the introduction of the chapati-making machine, which was installed at the prison in April 2011. To meet the high demand, another machine was brought from Central Prison, Kannur.
At first, the chapati was sold through a counter inside the prison. Following the increased demand, another counter was opened at the main entrance of the prison. An outlet for Poojappura chapati was also opened at the Women’s Prison, Attakkulangara.
The Christmas stars made by prison inmates also were sold out at a pace which surprised the prison authorities, who are now thinking of making chicken and vegetable curries, which would also be made available for sale.