It’s a new concept. Prisoners convicted for grave crimes such as murder moving about in a van selling pakoras to denizens of the city.
The idea is aimed at rehabilitating prisoners and adding to funds for their welfare.
From Friday, a set of prisoners of Sabarmati Jail here will be doing just that. They made their maiden venture on Wednesday at the state secretariat. “I am happy to go into the city and serve the delicacy to the public,” said Ganaji Devji Thakor, who is in the 12th year of his life sentence for murder.
From Friday, Thakor and his jailmates will be driven from one popular location to another in the evenings, targeting residents looking for a snack.
A van from Ahmedabad’s central prison will take the prisoners and their fare to different parts of the city. The pakoras will cost Rs 70 per kg in contrast to Rs 120 charged by commercial units.
The idea was mooted by Keshav Kumar, IG (Prisons) in July last after which the State Bank of India donated the van worth Rs 4 lakh and an additional Rs 1 lakh for maintenance.
“As it is a unique concept... we donated the van under our corporate social responsibility initiatives,” said T C A Ranganathan, chief general manager of SBI, Ahmedabad.
V Chandrasekhar, jail superintendent, is confident the prisoners won’t escape while selling pakoras in the city. “These convicts have served a major part of their term and are part of the open jail. They would not attempt to run away as it would only increase the punishment (when caught).”
But the authorities are taking no chances. A guard will accompany the prisoners.