Convicts harvest sugarcane


As part of expansion of farming activity on the vast stretch of lands at the Tiruchi Central Prison, sugarcane worth ₹ 4 lakh was harvested from about 40,000 plants by convicts here on Wednesday.

The initiative has been under way for a few years. This year, a new portion of the prison grounds was chosen for raising the sugarcane plantation. “The process began in February. Since then we have tried to ensure that the cultivation is organic. I am happy to say that sugarcane is at least 80% organic,” said Tiruchi DIG (Prisons) G Shanmuga Sundaram.

An attempt at growing fully organic produce is now under way, he said. Plantain, coconut, sesame, pulses, corn, some greens, fruits and vegetables are also being grown.

About half of the harvested sugarcane will be handed over to the district administration for the distribution of Pongal gift pack by the State government. The rest will be given to prisoners during the Pongal special lunch. The prison holds a prison market where vegetables, fruits and greens harvested here are sold to the general public at nominal prices.

In the backdrop of rise in onion prices, nearly half an acre of land of the 65 acre under cultivation in two separate farming grounds was earmarked for cultivating shallots for own use. The onion crop grows quickly and will be ready in about 15 days, he said.

There are a total of four wells to water two farming grounds. “The water level that went down to 20 to 30 feet below ground level during the summer has risen in all wells. We will not have any problem of water shortage for farming activities this year,” he assured. The prison grounds also have roof-top rainwater harvesting structures,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2020 3:13:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/convicts-harvest-sugarcane/article30516623.ece

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