INMATES OF four Haryana jails are doing their bit in the battle against COVID-19 by cooking food for migrant labourers and others rendered jobless by the lockdown.
Haryana Jails Minister Ranjit Chautala told The Indian Express on Sunday that prisoners at Bhiwani, Panipat, Jind and Rohtak (Sunaria) jails are preparing food using ration arranged by various groups.
“At each prison, food for at least 2,000-2,500 persons is prepared and packed. The packets are then supplied to daily wagers, industry labourers and rickshaw-pullers who have been left unemployed following the lockdown,” said Chautala.
He added, “The jails have an image that they are only meant to house criminals. But the prisoners here are now contributing in the fight against the disease. A new precedent has been set,” added the minister.
Social activist from Bhiwani Sampuran Singh had earlier urged the minister to give permission to get chapatis cooked using the roti-making machines in jails. After getting permission from the minister, Singh and his associates started supplying ration to the jails of Bhiwani, Rohtak and Jind to get cooked chapatis.
“The machine of Rohtak jail can cook as many as 4,000 chapatis in an hour. The municipal councilors collect packed food from us to distribute to migrant workers. We try to provide different vegetables each day for variety,” said Singh, who is the convener of an organisation called ‘Mahapanchayat’.
Rohtak Jail Superintendent Sunil Sangwan said they supply 12,000 chapatis for 3,000 persons in the morning and 8,000 chapatis for 2,000 persons in the evening. “As many as 20 prisoners are engaged in the cooking exercise in the morning shift, while a similar number work in the evening shift. The distribution of the food is done by the social oufit,” said Sangwan.
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