Tihar Jail authorities are facing a curious issue these days — how to reduce the tea bill for undertrials that’s spiked 500% since 2008-09.
The jail pays for tea served to undertrials held in lock-ups at the six Delhi courts while they await their hearing.According to official records, the quantity of tea served per cup has remained at 200ml since 2008-09. The average number of cups served daily when courts are in session is 1,000 — unchanged all these years too.
Even the number of prisoners (convicts and undertrials) in Tihar has risen marginally since 2008, when the jail had 11,553 prisoners, as compared to 13,552 in 2013. But the tea bill has registered a massive jump. From just under Rs 5 lakh in 2008-09, Tihar authorities have been presented with a bill of `29.05 lakh this year, a `6-lakh leap from last year. And this isn’t fancy Darjeeling tea that’s being served.
The escalating cost of tea has prompted Tihar authorities to look at ways to cut this expense.
A senior jail official said authorities were working to cut expenditure without compromising on the quality or quantity of tea, a basic need of undertrials awaiting their hearings.
During a meeting held at the prison headquarters recently, jail superintendents were advised to push for more videoconferencing facilities and court hearing within prison premises to ensure a significant drop in the expenditure of money and manpower.
Speaking to HT, DIG (prisons) Mukesh Prasad said there were no loopholes in the system and that vendors were invited through an open system of e- tendering. “We decided to use paper cups so that we could save money. These paper cups are cheaper and better. The price of milk, sugar and transportation has increased over the years. This is the reason why the cost has gone up in all these years. Because there is a transparent system in place, whenever the bid is done it is done in front of everyone concerned and the prison officials.”