Pune’s 140-year-old Yerawada Central Prison (YCP) on Tuesday gave convicts a forum to air their creativity. The jail launched its internal “radio station”, the Radio YCP, to be run by the inmates. Combining entertainment with information, it will be designed, scripted and performed by inmates. The programmes will be “aired” on the public address system. The station was inaugurated by actor Rani Mukerji on Tuesday.
Additional Director General of Police (Prisons) Meeran Borwankar said, “It was the idea of Yerawada jail superintendent Yogesh Desai. Radio jockeys here are jail inmates and will write the script. The concept, if it succeeds, will be taken to other jails of Maharashtra.”
Desai said, “Barracks, barring the high security barracks, of Yerawada jail have television sets showing limited channels. We wanted to have something of our own. We have a lot of talented inmates. We are calling the initiative Radio YCP. There will be a one-hour programme between noon and 1 pm when inmates have free time. All those involved are convicts. A separate studio has been set up. The purpose is to give inmates their own space for expression.”
The programme, said Desai will focus on a separate theme every day. Between discussions, songs will be played. “On some days, there will be interviews of personalities invited to our studio. There will be songs on demand and a programme where we will try to solve problems faced by inmates with help of counsellors. The questions will be read out without naming the inmate. The jockeys have been selected after auditions.” The jail has over 3,500 inmates, including undertrials.
Sources from the jail said there were plans of roping in Sanjay Dutt as a radio jockey. “Somehow it did not work out. I think it requires a different set of skill to be a radio jockey,” said an officer.
Desai said, “Right now, we have two inmates to play jockeys, one of them will anchor the show in Marathi and the other in Hindi.” He said, “There will be informative programmes with focus on legal issues. Legal experts and prisons officers will talk to prisoners about their rights, laws and amendments.”
Meanwhile, the department Tuesday formally inaugurated the registered brand and the logo for products that inmates manufacture in the jail’s units and the crop grown in farms of state prisons.