Jail inmates to have special Sunday treats based on their choiceUpdated: Dec 09, 2019 00:47 IST
Inmates of Taloja Central jail ate the famed bata wada and wada pav on Sunday, Byculla jail inmates had paneer gravy, and Arthur Road inmates had soyabeen gravy dish for lunch.
Jails across the state are now being served non-vegetarian and other food items of their choice on Sundays. Prison canteens stopped serving non-vegetarian food a decade ago, amid rumours of corruption by staff in 2008. Sunil Ramanand, additional director general of police (prisons), who sanctioned the move, said, “There is such a provision in the prison manual. Jail rules allow inmates to eat non-vegetarian food and have a wet canteen (where menu is decided as per the demand). Inmates have the right to eat what they want at least once a week.”
Ramanand said the wet canteen system does not only include non-vegetarian food, but also vegetarian dishes and snacks. “It is not possible daily. We have discussed the system with the superintendent of police of all regions. The SPs will arrange for the wet canteen, as per the demand and manpower. In the past week, I received hundreds of letters from inmates across Maharashtra congratulating and thanking me for the change,” he said. The prison department has also increased the monthly cash that inmates get from their homes to ₹4,500 from ₹3,500. “It’s the third Sunday the inmates are enjoying variety of food from the wet canteens by spending their cash on it,” said a jail official.
A senior officer’s from the prison department said, “The then DG shut it, as he thought that the rich inmates were throwing parties inside the jail by bribing the jail authorities.” Then, inmates were served non-vegetarian food only five times a year, including two Eids, Christmas, Diwali and Dussehra.
SH Kurlekar, superintendent of police, Taloja Central Jail, said, “We will try and ensure they get different food items on all four Sundays.”
Meanwhile, dry canteens provide items such as cigarettes, tobacco, biscuits and other snacks like cake and bakery products.