In a unique step taken up by the state Correctional Administration department, inmates of Dum Dum Central Correctional Home will soon start becoming self reliant by preparing puffed rice for their own breakfast. Interestingly, after coming out of the correctional home, the same skill will help them to earn their bread.
The department has decided to set up a machine to prepare puffed rice, which is commonly called moori in Bengal, in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home.
Inmates in the correctional home will be going through a training programme to learn the process of operating the machine.
Soon after the training programme they would start working in the workshop where the machine would be set up.
Sources said that the company that would set up the machine already held a meeting with the correctional home authorities. The process of identifying the location inside the correctional home where the machine would be set up is on and it will be identified soon.
There are around 2,800 inmates in the correctional home. The inmates are given puffed rice in their breakfast. The inmates get chira, puffed rice, bread, chhatu and roasted gram flour - alternatively. But, according o the sources, most of the days puffed rice is given to the inmates as they prefer it over the rest. Each day they get 100 gm of puffed rice for their breakfast.
An official of the department said that on an average 9,000 kg puffed rice is needed only in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home if it is given to the inmates every day and the procurement cost of a kilogram of puffed rice is around Rs 40 from market. It is expected that the cost of preparing rice in the correctional home itself would be comparatively lesser and it would benefit the state's exchequer, the official said.
Initially, one machine would be set up in the correctional home and decision to set up another one will be taken after the success of the project at its initial stage.
The other and most important aspect of the project is that the inmates who get trained to prepare puffed rice can later utilise their skills to be self reliant. "The correctional home administration department has given stress on making inmates skillful so that they do not have to search for job after going out. Instead they can make their own set up and work to develop their business," the official said adding that with ample production of rice in Bengal there is a lot of scope in the business of puffed rice preparation.
It is learnt that puffed rice preparing machines was also installed many years ago in Burdwan Correctional Home as the district produces the highest quantity of rice in the state.
If everything goes as planned, rice required to prepare puffed rice in Dum Dum Central Correctional Home will be produced by the same organisation that will set up the machine.
Rajib Banerjee, state Correctional Administration minister said: “Our main motto is to make the inmates self-reliant so that they can earn their livelihood after going out of the correctional homes.
“Besides training them to prepare puffed rice, steps have also been taken to make them learn the techniques of making bags, folders, tin boxes and cookies. Earlier, during the Left Front regime the condition of correctional homes was like hell. The situation has improved in the past five years.”