Undertrial files PIL seeking skilled work for prisoners

The petition filed by Sumit B Giri (26), who is lodged in Thane Central Jail, also seeks increase in existing wages for the prisoners.According to Giri, of late several industrial workshops in prisons have become non-functional.

Prison authorities claim that these workshops -- where things such as leather items, furniture, foods, etc, are made -- are no more financially viable because of rising prices of raw material, and lack of demand for these goods outside.

However, Giri contends that these reasons are not "convincing and in fact misleading".
He cited the successful examples of Ahmedabad Central jail, where prisoners sell food items worth more than Rs one lakh every day and have even created their own brand.
The existing wages in the prison workshops -- wherever they are functional -- are too low, he says.

As per the petition, a skilled prisoner gets Rs 663 per month, whereas unskilled prisoner gets less than Rs 340 in such workshops.

Public Prosecutor P A Pol said that petition raised an important issue and court may appoint an amicus curie (friend of the court) to represent Giri. The hearing has been scheduled after two weeks.

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