Sale of beedi, cigarette to be banned in jails

The Karnataka Prisons Department has decided to ban the sale of beedi and cigarette in all the prisons across the state.

DGP (Prisons) H N Sathyanarayan Rao has directed his subordinate staff to take measures to ban the sale of tobacco products such as beedi and cigarettes within six months.

“We will ban the sale of beedi and cigarettes in six months. We have decided to ban the sale slowly as the decision may not go down well with the inmates who may create problems,” Rao told Deccan Herald.

“The prisons departments in Tamil Nadu and Kerala have already banned the supply of beedi and cigarettes, but we are still following some norms of the Prisons Manual. Our decision will have a positive impact on the health of the inmates. We have plans to conduct yoga camps, sports and cultural events for the inmates which will reform them,” he said.

There are 7 central prisons, 19 district jails, 2 special sub-jails and 28 taluk prisons in Karnataka. There are about 4,000 inmates in the Central Prisons, Parappana Agrahara, and about 75 per cent are addicted to smoking. The Prisons Manual permits the staff to sell tobacco products to the inmates at affordable prices. The inmates buy tobacco products by paying tokens and the money is recovered from their wages. The prison staff are accused of selling beedi and cigarette for higher prices, he said.

Some NGOs are creating awareness about the ill effects of the use of tobacco products and the sale of beedi and cigarette has dipped in Ballari and Belagavi prisons, the DGP said.

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