Jailbirds script a new survival story, turn to farming for a better future | Hyderabad News – Times of India

Hyderabad: Life convicts in the open air Cherlapally prison are into farming these days. Jail authorities have confirmed that the prisoners are being trained in various aspects of farming in the 120-acre prisoners’ agricultural colony so that they can lead a bright life beyond the barriers of the jail.
In a far-reaching initiative to prepare them as farmers once the prisoners are released from the jail, authorities of the prisons department are also focusing on equipping them with modern techniques of farming.
Technically speaking, a life term is to be read as a person spending the rest of his life in the jail. But, governments make considerations for premature release of prisoners who complete 14 years of their sentence in the jail. Prisoners with good behaviour and those showing enterprise after completing a certain number of years are given an option by the prisons department to be placed in the open air jail. The Cherlapally open air jail has an entrance and does not have a fencing as prisoners, who are due for release in near future, do not try to run away.
“They are learning a lot about modern agricultural practices,” superintendent of the jail Dasaradha Ram Reddy told TOI. They are also taught about the multi-layer farming concept on cultivating three or four crops simultaneously. “This can be done in less than one acre of land or a limited space,” explained jailor Ashok Kumar. Officials from Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University are providing technical knowhow and inputs to the jail inmates.
As part of integrated farming, ponds have been created in the jail. The prisoners are also taught aquaculture, dairy farming, breeding poultry and making vermicompost. In poultry, the focus is on breeding country birds. The ‘Mysurue natu’ and ‘Aseel natu’ poultry varieties fetch good returns as they are sold at Rs 400 per kg and the birds can be harvested in less than six months. “If 500 birds are reared, the prisoners can earn between Rs 2 lakh and Rs 3 lakh,” a prison official explained.
In six beds of 60×4 sq ft, vermicompost is made inside the prison premises by sourcing cow dung from the nearby dairy farm. African red wiggler worms are part of the vermicompost to make it a solid combination. Every prisoner gets to learn all this, while others work at the petrol bunk attached to the prison.
According to the authorities, those who are released can lead a normal life by earning their own livelihood. “If they seek, loans can also be facilitated for them,” officials added.

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