Known as a dual desk, it is made of wood and nattily combines a desk with a bench for school students. Manufactured by Tihar convicts of the carpentry unit, the surge in the sale of these gleaming rust-coloured desks apparently enabled the prison to record a 266% growth in the turnover of its products, which has exceeded expectations.
The Tihar prison products made by convicts—known by the brand name of TJ’s—registered a record turnover of Rs. 32.17 crore in 2012-13 against a turnover of Rs. 12.20 crore in the previous year according to final figures, said jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta. It was earlier expected that the turnover would be only R30 crore, according to a source.
“The biggest contribution to the factories’ turnover of Rs. 32.17 crore came from the carpentry unit. The main reason behind the increased turnover is the increase in the supply of dual desks to Delhi government schools - unlike in 2011 when we supplied around 80,000 such desks, in 2012 we provided around 1.4 lakh,” said Gupta. “The desks, made of teakwood and marandi wood, are of premium quality and reasonably priced at around R2,800 each,” he said.
The carpentry unit’s turnover contributed Rs. 23.14 crore to the prison’s total turnover of Rs. 32.12 crore.
Bakery products, including biscuits, cookies, bread, rusks and salted snacks-- came a close second at R4.97 crore.
“We expect the turnover may touch R50 crore in 2013-14 due to the sale of coco lawns and herbal products,” said Gupta.
While the prison inmates produced only 225 dual desks in 2011, the figure increased to 400 per day in 2012. Apart from the desks, the carpentry unit makes chairs meant for teachers, table with drawers, notice boards, black boards and writing chairs for students.
The 700-odd convicts lodged in Tihar jail earn their daily wages by producing a range of commodities, from furniture to blankets in workshops. The convicts work at 10 workshops - known as ‘factories’- inside Tihar jail. There is one located at each of the 10 sub-jails. For their labour, the prison administration pays the inmates wages as per government rules.