Tamil Nadu

Perarivalan, 66 other jail inmates get driving licences

In a first, the Tamil Nadu Transport Department conducted driving skill tests on the Puzhal central prison campus here and issued driving licences to 67 inmates. A. G. Perarivalan, one of the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, was among those who got a licence.

The objective is to make the inmates employable on release after the completion of sentence. At least three prisoners who were released in recent weeks are now employed as drivers with private firms, while another is awaiting an offer letter from a leading cab operator.

Conduct certificate

The initiative to establish a driving school for prisoners was taken by the then Additional Director-General of Police, Prisons, C. Sylendra Babu, two years ago. With the support of Tech Mahindra and Samiti for Education, Environment, Social and Health Action (SEESHA), a voluntary organisation, prison authorities had established driving school facilities on the prison premises.

“Though many prisoners showed keen interest in joining the driving school to obtain licence, we had to go by certain norms. Transport officials said driving licence could not be issued to habitual criminals and drug offenders. We took a good conduct certificate from the Jail Superintendent before admission of the inmates to the driving school. After adequate training in a simulator, the applicants were given vehicles to learn individually,” said Gnana Dinakaran Neil, centre manager and placement officer of SEESHA.

Besides setting up a driving simulator, transport authorities also assisted in prison laying the H-track with sharp curves and slopes to test the front/reverse driving skills of the applicants. “A former convict recently purchased a goods vehicle and is now earning ₹1,000 per day. We are assisting prisoners get jobs on release. More prisoners are now coming forward to join the driving school,” Mr. Dinakaran said.

Former Transport Commissioner C. Samayamoorthy said staff from the Red Hills RTO was deployed to Puzhal prison campus for conducting the test and issuing driving licence. There was no relaxation of norms for issuing the licence, he said adding that there was no change in the expiry date compared to what was being given in the normal course.

DIGs of Prison A. Murugesan and R. Kanagaraj played a key role in motivating the inmates to join the driving school as possessing a driving licence would easily help them get a job, prison sources said.

The only hitch in the programme is that the driving licences are being issued with prison address. “Since Red Hills RTO is issuing the licence, we have to enter the local address, which is the Puzhal prison in this case. They can change the address after their release by submitting the relevant documents,” an official said.

“Several batches of prisoners are being enrolled in the driving school. Soon, there will be many employed in popular cab services...but that shouldn’t be cause for worry at all. We will vouch for their good conduct,” Mr. Dinakaran said.

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Printable version | Oct 21, 2020 12:03:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/perarivalan-66-other-jail-inmates-get-driving-licences/article30342908.ece

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