Suresh Kumar (29) gets to talk to his wife, Poonam (23), just once a week, and has to usually prioritise the subjects he brings up during the five-minute-long phone conversations.
Kumar, a murder convict lodged at sub-jail number 2 of Tihar Central Jail, is allowed to make a phone call to his relatives or acquaintances just once a week as per the prison rules, and pines for more such opportunities.
His prayers were finally answered on Saturday. The Tihar authorities are going to allow the inmates to call home twice a week now. This was announced on the occasion of the 141st birth centenary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The "gift", as a prison source described the new rule, is aimed at "increasing an inmate's interaction with his family. They are hopeful that this might help imbibe positivity among the inmates".
"Starting today, they will be allowed to make two calls per week, instead of one," said Tihar's spokesperson Sunil Gupta.
The authorities' gesture brought smiles to many faces. "Two calls per week means I can talk to my family for 10 minutes now," said Kumar.
But had Kumar's crime fallen under the "heinous category", he wouldn't have been able to avail the facility.
"The new facility cannot be availed by inmates whose crimes fall under the heinous and sedition-related categories, and if he is a gangster," said Gupta.
To avail the facility, an inmate will now have to spend R 100 to make local calls and R 200 for outstation calls. Earlier, it was R 50 and R 100 respectively.