People queue up for jail food in Punjab

People queue up for jail food in Punjab

Food provided to inmates in jails is certainly not a gourmet meal you would ideally want to cherish. Yet, the Punjab government is mulling over setting up of outlets where jail food is served to the public.

The increasing demand for the unusual flavour of jail food among people has prompted the state government to sell jail food outside.

The demand is actually propelled by astrologers advising their clients to eat jail food, at least once. The astrologers say this will wean away all misfortune from a person’s life.

The advice, loaded with an element of superstition, is for those who are grappling with police cases or embroiled in legal litigation. Believers of this ‘bail-out’ formula feel that eating food cooked in jail may offset an impending danger of going to prison.

Those subscribing to the advice have been practising this ‘ritual’ of sorts for long, just that there was earlier no formal way to get food from jails. Any such provisioning of meals from jails was at the mercy of jail staffers who would oblige people with jail food allegedly for something in return.

Proposed jail food outlets will be set up outside 5-6 jails in the state and people wanting to relish a meal will have to shell out anywhere between Rs 100 to Rs 200. Official data from 2015 shows that an average Rs 52.42 per day is spent in India to provide daily meals to each prisoner as prescribed in the prison manuals.

The amount varies in states with Nagaland spending the maximum about Rs 140 on each inmate. Karnataka spends Rs 76.75 on food for a prisoner while Maharastra and Goa are among the states spending around Rs 32 on food for each prisoner.

The proposed outlets in Punjab will operate for a certain period during the day when people can visit to eat or get jail food packed. The revenue generated will be used for the welfare of prisons.