Having earned a niche for themselves in producing a range of goods such as soaps, furniture and towels, thereby doing their bit in making the Prisons department self-sufficient, a few inmates of the district jail are trying their hand at farming on the sprawling open land within the jail complex at Danvaigudem.
Thanks to the initiative of the jail authorities, one and a half acre of land, which was virtually barren a few years ago, turned into a paddy field within the jail complex.
The district jail building spanning around eight acres has the capacity to accommodate 340 inmates.
Putting a portion of the open land of the prison measuring around 32 acres to productive use, the jail authorities have constructed a pond and developed a semi vegetable garden on around four and a half acres in the jail complex.
They have encouraged a group of 20 inmates of the jail to cultivate paddy last year. The attempt yielded a good harvest of 30 quintals of paddy in the last kharif season, sources said.
The trained jail inmates have turned the furniture, note book and phenyl units besides a petrol bunk being operated by the Prisons department at the jail, into profitable ventures in the past few years.
All the units together earned a profit of 30.93 lakh owing to good patronage from consumers, sources in the department said.
Many inmates mainly from the rural background showed keen interest in cultivating paddy due to their natural flair for agriculture when we launched the initiative to involve the jail inmates in farming last year, said superintendent of the District Jail, Khammam, G. Ramachandram.
They adhered to natural farming method and used organic manure in paddy cultivation. Their efforts have borne fruit as their maiden farming venture yielded nearly 30 quintals of paddy in the last kharif season, he noted.
We have again taken up paddy cultivation on one and a half acre land to continue the endeavour to make inmates productive members of the society, he said, adding that vegetables being grown by the inmates at the jail complex are being sold in a van at the Rythu Bazaar in Khammam.
The vocational training and encouragement from the jail authorities will help us secure sustainable livelihoods upon our release from the prison after the jail term, said a convict of the jail, while engrossed in the farming activity inside the jail walls.