Himachal Pradesh Governor Rajendra Vishwanath Arlekar launched seven new schemes for prisoners initiated by the Prisons and Correctional Services Department at the Model Central Prison in Kanda near Shimla on Thursday.
The schemes include meditation programme, telemedicine project, financial literacy program, waste management, free online coaching, audio library and release of poetry collection ‘Parwaz’.
Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said it was an emotional moment for him to see the skills of the inmates of prison.
Appreciating the efforts of Additional Director General of Police attached to the Prisons and Correctional Services Department, Satwant Atwal, he said, “How the prison has been converted into a reform house, reflects an extra effort of Atwal. Prisoners also have thoughts and feelings. The reason they came here is unfortunate. But his time does not end here; new hopes for the future are waiting for them”.
He appealed to them to become capable of facing the future challenges.
The Governor said, “Whatever may be the reason for coming here, they are here to learn, experiment, get trained and move forward with positive thoughts. This was a correctional home, so various programmes were being run for the prisoners. By adopting these programmes, it would not only benefit them but also the society.”
Earlier, he launched the transcendental meditation program and training, which will be implemented by the Transcendental Meditation Institute. He further launched a telemedicine program in prisons through e-Sanjeevani by the state health and family welfare department. In this program, doctors will give online consultation to the prisoners.
A financial literary programme was also launched for the prisoners in collaboration with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
The Prisons Department, in association with the Waste Warriors Society Dharamshala, has set up a waste management unit at Dharamshala under the ‘Waste Under Arrest’ programme. Such units will also be operational in all other jails of the state. There will be a two-pronged strategy in these units. The jail Inmates will be taught to segregate waste and others will be taught waste upcycling techniques such as vermicomposting from green waste and making boards from Tetra Pack.
Arlekar, also started waste management with the help of the society and also launched free online coaching for the children of prisoners with the help of Smile Foundation.
An audio library was also started for the prisoners who could not read books due to paucity of time.
Later, he planted a sapling at Kanda Jail and inspected the various units where prisoners were engaged in the manufacture some products.
ADGP Satwant Atwal, welcomed the Governor and apprised him about the various activities implemented by the Prisons and Correctional Services Department.
“One barrack in every jail has been declared a free prison in the state. In these, the eligible prisoners were earning their livelihood by going out of the jail and taking better care of their families,” she said.
Himachal Pradesh is the only state in the country that has provided free prison facilities to eligible women prisoners, said Atwal, adding that other prisons in the country are following the example of Himachal Pradesh.