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Sweetmeats baked behind the bars set to be a part of household festive spread

Kolkata: The state Correctional Administration department in association with an NGO is all set to launch cookies and a special type of cup cake made by the inmates of Alipore Women's Correctional Home (AWCH) soon after the Durga Puja.

Under the initiative named Cookie Maker, some 20 odd inmates in AWCH will spend their Puja days working hard in baking cookies and cakes with the department planning for the launch between the Lakshmi Puja and the Diwali.

"Some six odd women inside the prison had a knack in the art of baking. They were handpicked and a professional baker was roped in to train them in a workshop. The lessons were passed over to others who were eager to be partner in the initiative," said Chaitali Das, managing trustee of Rakshak Foundation who has arranged for the inmates' training. Four variants of cookies packaged in glass containers and the cup cake will be available from the outlet of Rakshak Foundation at Alipore Road. The products will also be available from AWCH too.

It may be mentioned that it was only a few days back when a music album named Aamar Asha containing songs by Indo Brazilian vocalist Carlyta Maria Mouhini from Mumbai and four inmates of Presidency Central Correctional Home was launched at a programme at ICCR. The video shot and designed exclusively inside the premises of the correctional home portrays the daily life routine of the inmates and their creative work.

A senior official of the department informed that several steps are being taken to ensure that the inmates can enjoy themselves during the Durga Puja days. There will be cultural programmes and special menu for the inmates in breakfast, lunch and dinner during the Puja days.

"The concept of prisons in the state have witnessed a sea change in the last eight years under the leadership of our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. We are trying to reform them and at the same time exploring new avenues of vocational training for the inmates so that when they are released after completing their term they can earn a living on their own," said Ujjal Biswas, state Correctional Administration minister.

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