From working for the release of Punjabi youth languishing in foreign jails, Dubai-based philanthropist SP Singh Oberoi has shifted his focus to jails back home. In an offer made to the Punjab jails department, Oberoi has offered to make air-conditioned crèches-cum-schools across the state for the children of inmates.
The foundation stone for the first such crèche was laid on Wednesday by district and sessions judge RS Atri and deputy commissioner GK Singh.
These creches are going to be a first-of-its-kind in the country to provide education to the children of inmates. Oberoi has offered to bear full expense of these crèches under his charitable trust Sarbat Da Bhala. Interacting with HT, Oberoi said the Trust would provide all kind of study material to the children free of cost.
"It has been seen worldwide that children growing up in jails were prone to follow the crime path after coming out of jails. The basic idea behind opening these crèches is to channelise the kids in a positive direction," said Oberoi.
Deputy commissioner GK Singh said if any child wanted to pursue studies after being released from jail, the trust had offered to sponsor it too.
As per jail provisions, a child is allowed to stay in the jail with either of the parent till attaining the age of six. Presently, there are 158 such children living with their parents in the jails across the state.
After Patiala, the trust plans to open crèches in Bathinda and Ferozepur.
A real-estate businessman based in Dubai, SP Singh Oberoi was instrumental in securing the release of four Indians on death row in Sharjah. Oberoi is already running a school for deaf and dumb in Patiala.