BHUBANESWAR: Abandoning the old method of evaluating the diet on basis of weight, the State Government has switched to count the calorie intake of the inmates of its prisons.In a recent notification, the Home Department released the revised diet menu in which the per day per person intake has been pegged at 2,816 kilo calorie. There are 86 jails in the State with a total inmate count of over 15,000.
“From the old system of evaluating the nutritional intake on the basis of weight, the Government has moved to calorie estimation. It has been scientifically done as prescribed by the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR),” says ADG, Prisons and Director of Correctional Services Binayanand Jha. Interesting as it may sound, the average daily intake of a prison inmate is higher than the average nutritional intake of an Odia.
According to 68th Round National Sample Survey Office, the per capita calorie intake in rural Odisha stands at 2,215 whereas in urban areas, it is 2,191. The national average is 2, 233 and 2206 for rural and urban areas respectively.The daily diet comprises a morning snack including tea, upma or poha, a mid-day meal and dinner. The lunch and dinner include roti, rice, dal, vegetables, dalma, ghughuni, chicken, fish, egg and soya chunks or paneer. The lunch and dinner are evaluated at about 2321 kilo calorie.
The protein diet includes chicken and fish served alternately on Sundays. It is valued at 259.8 kilo calorie whereas egg diet is evaluated at 263 kilo calorie. Similarly, the soya or paneer recipes are assessed at 267.4 kilo calorie.
There is a flip side to the substantial diet provided to the inmates. Many jail superintendents say they have to fight hard to keep the prisoners in shape because of the healthy food they receive. “Most of our jails have very little space to keep inmates engaged in terms of physical labour. That is the reason, we face issues of obesity and diabetes among the prisoners during the periodic health check-ups,” said a circle jail head, requesting anonymity.As per the norms, only convicts can work but they constitute only a fourth of the jail population in the State which means jail dispensaries and doctors manning these facilities have a task at hand.