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From Prisoners to Farmers: Puducherry Jail's Training is Helping Inmates Turn a New Leaf

From vegetables to flowers, Puducherry Jail inmates are growing them all. (Credits: News18)

From vegetables to flowers, Puducherry Jail inmates are growing them all. (Credits: News18)

With 64 varieties of saplings and 60 varieties of herbs brought from various states, Puducherry Jail inmates are turning into seasoned farmers.

In an attempt to turn jail land into green land, Puducherry Central Jail inmates have cultivated fruits, vegetables and flowers in large quantities. Covering an area of ​​36 acres at Kalapattu, the Central Prison is located on the East Coast Road in Puducherry. There are about 300 inmates who are being held in the jail as trial prisoners and convicted prisoners. The prison administration provides various trainings to alleviate their stress and make them self-employed when they go out after serving their sentence.

There are about 300 inmates who are being held in the jail as trial prisoners and convicted prisoners. (Credits: News18)

On behalf of Sri Aurobindo Society Charity of the Aurobindo Ashram in Puducherry, training on integrated farming and nature farming has been provided to the prisoners. For this, nearly three acres of land has been allotted within the prison premises. Prisoners have been ploughing the land which has not been used for several years and have set up sprinkler irrigation. With 64 varieties of saplings and 60 varieties of herbs brought from various states, they also brought 10 thousand pineapple saplings from Kollimalai.

Prisoners have been ploughing the land which has not been used for several years and have set up sprinkler irrigation. (Credits: News18)

According to prison officials, this will bring in Rs 5 lakh per annum. Bananas, tomatoes, eggplants, watermelons, papayas, green chilies, turkey berry, ginger, turmeric, cardamom, apples, oranges and sunflower are being cultivated and used for their prison kitchen. Extra vegetables are put up for sale. Apart from this, cows, goats and rabbits are reared on the prison premises to make compost and pesticides which are maintained by the prisoners.

‘Farming gives us a complete peaceful sleep in the prison. We now realise how farmers grow food,” says prisoners. Many of the prisoners said, “We came as prisoners by committing crime, now we will go out as farmers.”

Apart from this, cows, goats and rabbits are reared at the prison premises to make compost and pesticides which are properly maintained by the prisoners. (Credits: News18)

Recently, the harvest festival of vegetables, fruits and flowers grown by prisoners took place on the prison premises. Eggplants, mangoes, marigold flowers, lemons, papayas, spinach, radish, jackfruits, ladies fingers – all weighing 300 kg was harvested at a time. Prison secretary Nedunchezhiyan, national security committee member Vidhya Ramkumar and prison officer Sami Vetriselvan inaugurated the harvest festival on the prison premises. It is noteworthy that the prison authorities are encouraging inmates to produce their own food. The aim is to empower the inmates with the skills to earn a living once they are released from prison.

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first published:May 17, 2022, 09:53 IST