CUTTACK: Pure mustard oil made by prisoners of Choudwar Circle Jail is much in demand among Baliyatra visitors.More than 250 litre of mustard oil has already been sold in the last three days of the annual trade fair which commenced from Friday. A stall erected by the Directorate of Prisons on the premises of ORMAS’s Pallishree Mela at the fair ground to sell different articles made by prisoners is being thronged by thousands of visitors daily. The mustard oil made by the jail inmates is the most sought after item at the stall owing to its purity and reasonable price.
Last year, one litre of mustard oil was sold at Rs 175 by the jail authorities. However, due to fall in price of mustard seeds, the rate has been slashed to Rs 160 per litre this year. The price of pure mustard oil, extracted by indigenous ‘Ghani’ machine, is Rs 210 in the market.
“Last year, I had bought three litre of mustard oil from the prison stall and this year, I purchased five litre,” said Mamata Swain, a homemaker. Last year, the prisoners had prepared 680 litre of mustard oil for sale at the fair and the entire stock was sold out. “Considering the demand last year, we have prepared 1,000 litre this year for sale at the fair which has been extended to 10 days,” said Assistant Jailer Abinash Behera, who is managing the stall.
The stock has been prepared by three inmates including two convicts with the help of an outsourced oil extracting machine operator. “Not a single drop of any chemical, essence or preservative has been added to the oil,” Behera said. The bottling and packaging works were also done by the prisoners. Each prisoner is paid Rs 40 for the work.
“We will procure best quality mustard seeds and prepare more oil to meet the demand of customers next year,” said Choudwar Jail Superintendent Rabindra Nath Swain.