BENGALURU: The Karnataka state prisons department is planning to start fuel stations to be run and managed by prisoners. These stations will be started at selective places which are close to prisons and can be easily monitored by the department staff.
The state has nearly 100 prisons which include central, district, open and taluk-level jails where more than 15,000 inmates are housed. Speaking to The New Indian Express, Alok Mohan, Director General of Police, Prisons and Correctional Services, said the project is part of the department’s reform and rehabilitation initiatives. “We are in talks with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat Petroleum (BP). When prisoners come out of jails after serving their term, they can find employment at petrol bunks or can even start bunks on their own.” he said Mohan said similar projects have been launched in some states like Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. “We are working on the feasibility,” he said.
When asked about the places that will be selected, he said, “We are identifying suitable plots that are closer to prisons. It will be done wherever possible.” Mohan said it’s a commerical venture and the inmates will be trained before being assigned jobs.
Sources from the prisons department said that a single petrol bunk can give opportunities to at least 45 prisoners who can work in three shifts with 15 members working in each shift. Prisoners with good conduct will be selected. Plans are also afoot to start carwash and other services next to the fuel stations.
CCTV cameras will monitor prisoners
“CCTV cameras will be installed besides taking other security measures,” said an official, who did not wished to be named. The department also runs bakery units at various prisons including the Central Jail at Parappana Agrahara in Bengaluru and in Mysuru and Belagavi jails.
They make bakery products including bread, bun, biscuits, cakes and cookies under the brand name ‘Parivartana’ which are sold to the general public. Prisoners also make laddoos, Mysuru pak, dil pasand and khaara bondi. “We can also have an outlet to put these products on sale next to petrol bunk,” the official added.