Soon, prisoners to work as petrol pump attendants in three cities

Written by Gopal Kateshiya | Gopal Kateshiya | Vadodara | Updated: Aug 6 2012, 20:39pm hrs
Indian Oil to allot filling stations to central jails in Vadodara, Ahmedabad and Surat

Inmates of Vadodara, Surat and Sabarmati central jails will soon be seen refueling vehicles at petrol pumps, which are to come up in these cities.

The Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) has agreed to allot petrol pumps to these prisons and they can become operational within a year, officials in the state prison department said.

This is an initiative for prisoners reformation and welfare. The proposal is at an advanced stage, highly-placed sources in the department said on Sunday.

As per the proposal, the petrol pumps will be set up near the premises of open jails at Sabarmati, at Danteshwar on the outskirts of Vadodara and on the Surat-Navsari road in Surat.

Prisoners with a record of disciplined behaviour inside the three jails will be trained and subsequently employed as attendants, said officials, adding that IOCL will provide certificates to these inmates. This will help prisoners in getting employment after they complete their jail terms, added an official.

The three jails have been selected for the project as they have land touching roads, they said.

The Vadodara Central Jail owns around 70 bihgas of land at Danteshwar. A ring road touches the plot. The authorities have planned to build an open jail on the land and run the petrol pump.

We are waiting for the final green signal from IOCL. We expect to start the petrol pump in a years time. Inmates who have a good record of obeying jail rules, like returning to jail after their parole or furlough ends, will be selected for the job, R F Sangada, Superintendent of Vadodara Central Jail, told The Indian Express.

The land at Danteshwar is being cultivated by jail authorities with the help of prisoners. A project to build an open jail on the Danteshwar land has been sanctioned and work will start soon. The petrol pump will be adjoining this jail, Sangada added.

Dismissing concerns over security of prisoners at petrol pumps, a senior department official said, The concept of inmates running petrol pumps has been successfully implemented in Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh. These petrol pumps will be away from city areas, so security will not be an issue.

Another official confirmed that the state government has sanctioned Rs 2 crore as first installment for the open jail, which will be on the concept of a university hostel. Prisoners will be taught various skills and crafts on the premises. It will become a model reformatory in the state, said the official.