Diwali gift packs, with love from Tihar Jail

October 21st, 2011 - 5:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 21 (IANS) The bakery at sub-jail No.2 in Tihar has been busy. For the first time, the inmates of India’s largest prison have rolled out cookies, naan khatai and namkeen in special Diwali gift packs for the market.

With “TJ’s Celebrations” inscribed on it, the gift pack - in two varieties - costs far less than many high-end brands. The prison is also selling candles and diyas under TJ’s brand.

“This is the first time Tihar Jail has come up with Diwali gift packs made especially by the inmates,” Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta told IANS.

These items are being baked and prepared at the bakery unit in sub-jail No.2 ahead of Diwali which falls Oct 26 this year.

A one-kilogram pack comes for Rs.150 and contains three kinds of cookies, naan khatai and four types of namkeen whereas a 750-gm pack costs Rs.115, and contains two kinds of cookies, naan khatai and three kinds of namkeen.

And, as for the taste of these goodies, no less than Minister of State for Home Affairs Jitendra Singh vouches for it.

“It’s awesome! I had never imagined that such delicious cookies are made here,” Singh said on his visit to Tihar to inaugurate a Spice Unit.

“It is heartening to know that these inmates possess such great skills. Other jails may also take a cue from Tihar and innovate.”

While news of adulterated sweets selling in the market is doing the rounds, the jail authorities say the quality and hygiene of TJ’s sweets are being strictly monitored.

“We have made sure that the quality of these items does not go for a toss. Special attention has been given to hygiene and quality,” said Gupta.

In a new initiative, the prison has even tied up with three dealers in Delhi, Gurgaon and Noida to sell the products.

Tihar prison Director General Neeraj Kumar told IANS: “The packs are available at various outlets of Kendriya Bhandar, Delhi Police and city court canteens. We have three dealers who are selling TJ’s Celebrations.”

What’s more, TJ’s Celebrations has made it to one of the capital’s swankiest malls, Select City Walk.

In coordination with the mall, the Tihar authorities have organised a five-day exhibition - “Redefining Life Behind Bars” - which began Wednesday.

“We are exhibiting at the mall. Our gift packs, candles and diyas will also be sold at the mall till Diwali,” said Gupta.

Tihar, one of the largest prison complexes in South Asia housing almost 11,000 prisoners, has also made coloured candles and earthen lamps.

“There are eight varieties of candles in various sizes and colours which are up for sale this Diwali,” Tihar’s Superintendent B.R. Meena told IANS.

“Like TJ’s Celebrations, these candles can be found in many stalls and markets in the country,” he added.

The price of candle packs ranges from Rs.20 to Rs.65 depending on the number of sticks. “These too are also sold under a brand name - TJ’s Candle.”

(Sumit Kumar Singh can be contacted at sumit.s@ians.in)

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