To mark the ensuing World Classical Tamil Conference to be held at Coimbatore in June, essay, elocution and various other contests will be held for prisoners across the State, said Additional Director-General of Police (Prisons) K.R. Shyam Sundar said on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters after distributing the victims' compensation fund, Mr. Sundar said that the contests would be to involve the prisoners indirectly in the historically significant event and provide them with a platform to display their hidden skills. A circular on the same would soon be issued to the prisons.

To keep the convict prisoners employed and help them earn wages which would be useful for them on their discharge, the industrial units in the various central prisons in the State were being modernised, equipped and made active.

The 39 powerlooms in Coimbatore Central Prison have bagged an order for producing four lakh metres of uniform materials for the 9,000 new recruits in the Tamil Nadu Police, Fire and Rescue Services and Prison Departments. Of the total order, 1.6 lakh metres have already been despatched and the work was on for fulfilling the remaining order.

Similarly, the shoe-making unit in Vellore was being modernised under the Private – Public Partnership for producing shoes for the uniformed services personnel. The Puzhal Central Prison in Chennai is being equipped with a modern Rs. 25-lakh bakery unit for producing bread and other products. The bread would be supplied to government hospitals.A net link was being created to enable the prisoners upload their art works and paintings and would be hooked to the Tihar jail as well. The net link would enable the art lovers to see and if they wanted, could buy them. The earnings would come in handy for the prisoners on their discharge besides their skills getting recognised.

Efforts are on to strengthen and expand the tie-ups with the universities to ensure more avenues of higher learning for the prisoners.

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