The 200- year-old central jail here is getting a facelift soon with the government deciding to modernise central and some district jails and also implement prison reforms across the state.
An amount of Rs 25 crore has been sanctioned by the 13th finance commission for modernisation of jails, of which Rs 20 crore will go to the central prison at Rajahmundry. Under the plan, a new administrative block, other blocks and some others structures will come up on the prison premises.
The capacity of the jail will be increased to 2,000 inmates from the existing 1,460. As a part of the ongoing reforms, a petrol pump of the Indian Oil Corporation, to be operated by prisoners, is set for inauguration on September 24. It is estimated that it will do a daily business of Rs 7 lakh.
As many as 25 prisoners of the open air jail have been trained to work at the petrol pump. Sources said the prisons department was also contemplating to invite multi-national companies to start small units at the central jail.
At present, the central jail inmates are manufacturing steel almairahs, school dual desks, coir mats, coir ropes, towels, lungies, pillows etc and getting good response for their products.
Speaking to Express, deputy inspector-general of prisons (coastal region) A Narasimha said the central jail earned Rs 60 lakh last year by selling the products manufactured by prisoners. This year, the income is expected to grow because of the upcoming petrol pump, he added. Plans are afoot to restart a canteen manned by the prisoners, he said.
A district jail will come up at Eluru in West Godavari district, he said.
According to Narasimha, 4,000 prisoners are housed in the jails in Guntur, Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts. Only 39 sub-jails are functioning now out of the total 56 sub-jails in the seven districts, he said.