Tihar inmates may soon provide bread and cakes abroad

January 27th, 2009 - 2:46 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 27 (IANS) Bakery products made by inmates of the Tihar Jail in the capital might soon be exported. Several distributors have approached the jail authorities, seeking to market the products abroad. Tihar inmates produce various bakery products, including biscuits, rusks, cakes and various salty snacks, at the factory inside the prison. These are in great demand because of good quality and low cost.

“We are receiving a lot of queries from distributors in the country and abroad about the bakery products of Tihar Jail. We have asked them to come and meet our director general to settle the agreement,” Tihar Jail Factory Deputy Superintendent Pradeep Sharma told IANS.

Tihar, the biggest jail in South Asia, houses over 11,000 convicts and undertrials, and runs several vocational training programmes, including a baking school, to provide financial support to inmates.

“We’re planning to market the bakery products through distributors under the brand name TJ (Tihar Jail) and will soon place tenders for this. Initially we will start the distribution in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) and will slowly extend to other parts of the country,” Sharma said.

As of now, Tihar products are sold only at Gandhi Smriti, Delhi Secretariat, schools run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and at an outlet at the jail premises.

“For the first time we will sell the Tihar bakery products in the open market and we are expecting that our annual sale of Rs.15 million will double,” Sharma said.

Pupils at the baking school every day bake the bread served to inmates for breakfast. Sharma says the school is run like a modern bakery.

“We got three ISO (International Standardization Organization) certificates for our baking school last fortnight - ISO 9001 for quality, ISO 14001 for environment-friendly operations and ISO 18001 for health and safety,” Sharma said.

To market their products better, the jail authorities have also roped in professional designers for new packaging.

“We need to have catchy packing and we are taking help from professional designers. By January end we will be finalising our wrapper design and product size,” said Sharma.

“In order to meet the demands for global consignments we are open to meet distributors and discuss the kind of products and quality they want.

“We have enough manpower to meet the increasing demand and based on the response we will also buy more baking ovens,” Sharma said.

The authorities expect that being in the open market will give recognition to Tihar products besides generating money for the inmates.

“A fixed percentage of the money earned through these products is given to inmates as salary and rest is used for development work in jail,” Sharma added.

Jail Number 2 of Tihar houses a weaving factory, carpentry section, chemical section, paper unit and tailoring section, where inmates are employed according to their proficiency.

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