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Products prepared by Choudwar jail inmates may soon be available online, Retail News, ET Retail

Products prepared by Choudwar jail inmates may soon be available online BHUBANESWAR: If everything goes as planned, products prepared by convicts in Cuttack’s Choudwar circle jail will soon be available online.

Taking a cue from Tihar jail, the Odisha government has asked the state prisons directorate to facilitate e-marketing of the Choudwar jail products and also open an outlet in Bhubaneswar for the sale of goods.

While Odisha has 90 prisons, the Choudwar circle jail will be the first one in the state to have an e-marketing facility for its products. The decision of better market linkage and e-marketing of the products was taken following a recent visit by minister of home for state Dibya Shankar Mishra to the Choudwar jail.

According to the minutes of the meeting, a copy of which is with TOI, the home department has decided to improve the existing facilities at the Choudwar circle jail, which has 785 undertrial prisoners (UTPs) and 270 convicts at present.

“We will market the Choudwar jail products under a brand name akin to the Tihar jail style. The name of the brand will be finalized soon. A dedicated website (e-commerce) will be created for the sale of the jail products. A suitable site will be identified in Bhubaneswar for the sale of the jail products in an outlet,” director general of police (prisons and correctional services) Satyajit Mohanty told TOI.

Currently, the jail inmates, mostly convicts make products relating to handloom, fabrics, dairy, carpentry, phenyl, mustard oil and fly ash bricks. The Choudwar jail products are now being sold at two stores in Cuttack. Last year, the business turnover of Choudwar circle jail stood at around Rs 15 lakh.

Plan afoot to upgrade meeting area

The annual business turnover of all the 90 jails in Odisha was around Rs 1.34 crore last year, prisons officials said. We will also modernize the mulakat (meeting) place of Choudwar jail as has been done in several jails in Hyderabad. The existing mulakat area is not sufficient enough to accommodate the relatives and attendants of inmates.

The mulakat hall will be more spacious with better infrastructure where talks between inmates and their relatives are not overheard by others,” Mohanty said.

There is also a plan to introduce a modern prison inmate calling system. “We will use the system to maintain transparency and prevent possible misuse of calls by the prison inmates,” Mohanty said.

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