The Central Prison in Kalapet, the one that houses some of the city’s feared criminals, is now redesigning its image by enrolling some of its inmates in rearing birds and animals and raising a wide variety of crops, as part of a behavioural-change initiative.
Since the beginning of this pioneering initiative, approximately 2.5 acres of land near the entrance of the jail has become lush green, with more than a dozen varieties of crops, including vegetables and flowers, sprouting in adjacent rows on raised muddy platforms.
The crops were cultivated with the financial assistance of approximately ₹7 lakh from Sri Aurobindo Association. Prison Inspector General Ravideep Singh Chahar commented on the initiative, stating that the prisoners were involved in animal breeding and breeding to instill a sense of community life.
The Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry, known for sheltering city’s notorious criminals, has launched a behavioural-change initiative programme. It engages the inmates in growing crops and rearing animals and birds.
A view of a paddy field seen against a wall painted by the inmates of the Central Prison at Kalapet, in Puducherry.
Prisoners engage in natural farming at the Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry. They grow brinjal, chilli, ladies’ finger, radish, tomato, drumstick, banana, paddy, papaya, pineapple, guava, sunflower, cauliflower, pumpkin and various types of spinach.
A prisoner showing sunflower cultivated inside the Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry.
Prisoners engage in natural farming at the Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry. The crops were raised by engaging 40 convicts for 11 days continuously. They were paid ₹200 per day for tilling the land, sowing and raising the crops, said Mr. Vettriselvam, a resident of Thanthaipudukuppam.
The inmates of the Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry show the sunflowers they cultivated on the prison premises. They serve long imprisonment and are separated from their families. As most of them come from poor economic background, they show interest in learning the art of cultivation so that they could eke out a living once they are released.
A prisoner takes out a rabbit from its cage inside the Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry.
Inmates of the Central Prison at Kalapet, in Puducherry, feed hens, ducks and guinea birds inside the jail. The prisoners rear ducks, hens, rabbits, turkeys, guineas and also have a small gaushala inside the prison. Why Guinea? “Each of the animals the prisoners choose will help with the harvest. For example, Guinea is the best caretaker of pests and small mice, “said V. Vettriselvam, a natural farming expert brought in by prison authorities.
Prisoners at the Central Prison at Kalapet in Puducherry, feed hens, ducks and guinea birds inside the jail. With the success of the behavioural-change initiative, the prison plans to expand both agriculture and dairy to nearby 20 acres of land with the support of the Sri Aurobind Society.