arunima ghosh  
KOLKATA, 25 JUNE: The state Correctional Administration Department will assess the viability of leasing out its excess land to oil marketing companies for setting up petrol pumps and engaging inmates of the correctional homes as staff. 
A committee was today formed with officials from correctional administration department, finance department, land department and superintendents of the correctional homes to look into the matter.  
The department received proposals from two oil marketing companies, namely Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, for setting up petrol pumps adjacent to the premises of Dum Dum Central Correctional Home and Alipore Central Correctional Home few months back. 
The officials of the oil companies had termed the initiative to be highly profitable since the pumps will come up in Alipore and Dum Dum. A similar initiative has already been taken by few oil marketing companies in Andhra Pradesh. It had been proposed that the pumps will operate from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and inmates will be engaged in two shifts.  
The department possesses excess land adjacent to the premises of the correctional homes and utilising them can be a good option. But it is to be ascertained whether these plots can be leased out and the amount of rent that can be charged.  
However, security is a major concern for undertaking such move since inmates will be deputed outside the premises of the correctional homes. An official of the department said it is only the long-term inmates, meaning those serving sentence for more than 10 years, and preferably the lifers who can be engaged in the petrol pumps. Again, the previous track record will also be taken into consideration, he said. The move will be profitable for those inmates since they will receive wages of semi-skilled workers.   
State Correctional Administration Minister H A Sawfi said the proposal is an innovative one and there is a need to assess the pros and cons properly before going ahead. The issues pertaining to the legal law, security and the overall feasibility will have to be studied in depth, he said. The committee will make an overall assessment of the proposal and come up with a report within a month, he added.