There is an unusual rush at the Poojapura central prison of late and it is not in response to a 'jail bharo' call. People are queuing up for mouthwatering chicken curry and gossamer-thin chapatis prepared by inmates and sold for all of Rs 25.
Heavy rush has forced the jail to ration the take-away — only two packets per person. And, veggies are not left behind either. They get chapatis with curry made of organic vegetables, for Rs 20.
What really prompted the new venture is the big demand for jail-made chapatis. Last year, it started selling chapatis and the sales peaked in December to 35,000 pieces a day. Soon, it approached the government to start the curry unit and got the nod.
"About 200 inmates are making 1,000 chicken and 500 vegetable packets daily. But the demand is for more than 5,000 packets," said an upbeat superintendent, B Pradeep. "Since we started this venture, friction among inmates has also gone down."
As the prices are three times lower than the market, many eating joints in the area have downed shutters. Though trial run began last week, state labour minister Shibu Baby John inaugurated the venture on Wednesday.
Like Tihar breads and bakery items, the jail is planning to market the traditional Kerala curry in a big way.
Back home, getting a steady income, smiles are back on the faces of family members of inmates.