'Freedom food' from jail marks record sale

K Balakrishnan

Government earns an annual profit of Rs 3 crore from the sale in the three central prisons.

Kannur: Freedom food, the food prepared by inmates in the state's prisons, has turned a profitable venture for the government. Crores of rupees are being earned from the sale of chapatis and chicken biriyani. The inmates here can earn a good amount of wage through the sale.

Government earns an annual profit of Rs 3 crore from the sale in the three central prisons. Compared to other prisons, more profit is being earned from Kannur Central Prison.

The sale was started in Kannur Central Prison in October 2012. Over Rs 8.5 crore has been earned from the business within five years.

The monthly income of Kannur Central Prison is expected to cross Rs 1 crore after opening new outlets in Thalassery and Taliparamba. Thalassery outlet clocked a sale of Rs 75,000 last month. Biriyani, chilli chicken, chicken kabab, chapati, chips, laddu and vegetable curry are available at the outlets.

Price of chapati is not increased yet after five years, it is Rs 2 per piece. Chicken biriyani, chilli chicken, and chicken kabab cost Rs 60 per plate.

In Viyyur jail, the sale of food items has crossed above 1.5 lakh. Apart from chapati and biriyani, five varieties of cakes are available here. An amount Rs 30 lakh from the sales has paid to the treasury within last four months. It is estimated that more than Rs 1 crore is being earned as profit from the business.

In Poojapura jail, Rs 1.10 crore is earned annually from the sale of these food items. In the first six months of this financial year, a sales turnover of Rs 4.17 lakh was recorded.

A daily wage of Rs 200 is given to inmates who prepare food in Poojapura jail. Though this wage was given to inmates in Kannur jail, it was curtailed later after the Jail superintendent issued a circular in this regard. At present, Rs 148 is given to the inmates for food production. Rs 118 is given to inmates who are engaged in other works in the jail.

Currently, 62 inmates are working in two shifts at the food production unit. People recruited from outside are working at the outlets.

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