Balasore jail in Odisha to take up organic farming
The Directorate of Prisons and Correctional Services has decided to launch organic farming over the five-acre agricultural land available on the jail premises.
BHUBANESWAR: The Balasore District Jail, one of the oldest prisons in the State, is all set to go organic. For, the Directorate of Prisons and Correctional Services has decided to launch organic farming over the five-acre agricultural land available on the jail premises.
Director General of Prisons Bijay Kumar Sharma, who visited the Balasore Jail on Monday, has permitted Ashok Panigrahy, an expert on organic farming, to introduce the farming model on the jail premises.
Currently, the jail inmates grow vegetables, mostly during winter, using the conventional methods on four acre land. Annually, about Rs 3 lakh worth of vegetables are grown and sold from the jail counters. Greens apart, rice is also grown on the farm land.
Using the organic methods, the production can be raised but it would require infrastructure which the Directorate has agreed to create following a proposal from Panigrahy, a former Zoology Reader of FM Autonomous College and Principal Investigator of UGC-funded projects in Mayurbhanj and Balasore districts.
“Organic farming can raise the produce by three to four times and the jail can provide necessary raw materials for vermi-compost generation,” Sharma said. A vermi-compost bed would also be created for the purpose.
The organic farming process will not only increase earning which can contribute to the welfare fund, it is aimed at enabling inmates to learn the process which they can use once released.
In his proposal, Panigrahy had sought funds for vermi-composting and permission for housing two pairs of bullocks and cows for generation of the manure. Once the model succeeds, he said, the Directorate can replicate it in other prisons.
Organic farming apart, the Prisons’ Directorate has started works for renovating four huge ponds where fish farming was the norm in past. However, heavy siltation and non-maintenance rendered the ponds unusable. The Directorate has already taken up the matter with Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department to de-silt the ponds so that freshwater farming can be resumed.
The Balasore District Jail, set up in 1847, is one of the few jails which is underpopulated. Against a capacity for 480, there are 360 inmates in the prison.The Prisons and Correctional Services Directorate has decided to transfer some inmates from Bhadrak which runs at 200 per cent capacity.