Poojappura Central Jail in Thiruvananthapuram, it seems, is becoming a model for prisons in other States. A team of delegates, comprising prison officials from other States, visited the Poojappura jail to study the functioning of the solar power project and chapatti-making unit there.

A team of officers, consisting of Krishna Raju, Additional Director General of Police (Prisons), Andhra Pradesh; K.V. Gagandeep, Additional Director General of Police (Prisons), Karnataka; Praveen Kumari Singh, Director of Centre-State Relations, under the Ministry of Home Affairs; and M.R. Ahmed, Director, Academy of Prison and Correctional Administration, Vellore, visited the prison on Saturday.

The solar energy system set up at a cost of Rs.7 crore has a capacity of 129 kW. The power generated is used for compound lighting; solar steam cooking and water boiling; chapatti-making; and to pump water. The automated chapatti-making machine introduced in the jail in April, 2011, churns out approximately 2,000 chapattis in about two hours. More than 100 inmates are involved in the chapatti-making process. Director General of Police (Prisons) Alexander Jacob told The Hindu that the officials were impressed by the projects and they might have plans to implement the same in their respective prisons.

On the success of the solar project, Mr. Jacob pointed out that the jail was eligible for nearly 1,000 carbon credits under the Carbon Credit Scheme instituted by the United Nations (UN). “If the request is taken up with the UN through the Central government, we can get nearly Rs.9 crore with the credits that can be used to finance carbon reduction schemes. Ms. Singh has promised to present the proposal at the Centre,” said Mr. Jacob.