HYDERABAD: At a time when the number of COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in Telangana and people are finding it difficult to buy masks and hand sanitisers, the State government is working closely with the Prisons Department to increase supply.
Prisoners have been roped in to manufacture face masks and hand sanitisers to contain the spread of COVID-19. As of now, the inmates of three central prisons in the State are assisting the officials in the task and helping them manufacture several face masks and sanitisers which are in huge demand now.
The inmates of Charlapally, Chanchalguda and Warangal central prisons have been roped in by the government for the manufacturing of essential safety gear owing to the high demand, said State Prisons Inspector General (IG) B Saidhaiah. Around 10,000 masks and over 1,000 litres of hand sanitisers are being produced each day by the prisoners since last week, he said.
The Prisons Department has also increased the production of cleaning agents such as phenyl, and detergent, considering the current scenario.
The sanitisers and face masks are being supplied to the officials of medical and health, police, revenue and municipality departments, who have been deployed at various levels to maintain complete lockdown, the IG added.
According to information, apart from supplying it to the officials of various departments, the prisons officials are also stocking them in their stores to sell them directly to the public at low cost.
Each of their mask costs just Rs 15 and a 100ml bottle of their sanitiser costs Rs 60, whereas the same costs around Rs 120 in the market.
Meanwhile, the acute shortage of alcohol-based raw materials has hit the production, though abundant manpower is available in the jails.Speaking to Express, Murali Babu, Superintendent of Warangal Central Prison said: “We are producing over 3,000 masks and 100 litres of sanitisers each day. Around 40 prisoners are involved in the production. Though we are capable of producing more masks as we have more number of skilled inmates, the shortage of sewing machines is hindering the same.”
The production can be increased, if the citizens voluntarily donate their sewing machines, jail authorities opined. However, these logistics are still being worked out.Dr D Srinivas, the superintendent of Chanchalguda Jail said that they are manufacturing sanitisers on a large scale, though the non-availability of 100 ml and 320 ml bottle caps has affected the process.
“The bottle caps used to be imported from Mumbai or Bengaluru as we don’t have production here. The sanitisers will evaporate if there is no tight seal. That’s why the supply is less than the production,” he added.