Coir Board to help rehabilitate Tihar inmates

Coir Board to help rehabilitate Tihar inmates

Kerala's age-old coir making skills will now be used to help rehabilitate inmates of Delhi's Tihar jail.

The Alappuzha-based Central Coir Research Institute (CCRI) is assisting with Tihar's reform programme designed to enable inmates to rejoin social mainstream and eke out a living once they complete their prison terms.

According to a Coir Board release today, its Research and Development wing had begun shipping the necessary machinery and sending experts to train the inmates in three areas of coir production -- spinning coir yarn, weaving geo-textiles and making furniture out of coir board.

"The machines for the project are on their way to Delhi. We hope to start the exercise in a couple of months," said Coir Board Chairman G Balachandran.

The rehabilitation programme at Tihar — South Asia's largest prison spreads over 400 acres and currently housing more than 12,000 inmates — is widely known for helping the prisoners, both men and women, conduct themselves in a way that can give them a better life after their release.

According to M Kumaraswamy Pillai, Officer on Special Duty with Coir, the plan was conceived last year after a visit to Kerala by Vimla Mehra, Director-General (Prisons), Tihar Jail.

A Radhakrishnan, an Assistant Director with CCRI, said Coir Board's programme had the potential to provide inmates a chance to earn between Rs 5,000 and Rs 30,000 a month once they walk free and uses the skills honed during the training.

He noted that there is a lot of coconut husk left discarded in markets and outside temples in Delhi could also be used as raw material for the programme.

The inmates will also be given training in making handicrafts and gift articles besides typical coir products such as doormats, mattresses and carpets, he added.

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