From resuming ‘mulaqat’ to making diyas & sweets, Delhi jails inch closer to normalcy

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New Delhi, Oct 25 (PTI) From resuming ‘mulaqat’ to manufacturing candles and diyas to preparing sweets, the Delhi Prisons is gradually moving towards normalcy amid coronavirus pandemic, jail officials said on Sunday.

The officials maintain that all safeguards are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease as the jails resume pre-COVID-19 activities.

The Delhi Prisons comprises Tihar, Rohini and Mandoli jails.

The first case of coronavirus was reported in Rohini Jail on May 13.

A total of 93 inmates have tested positive for COVID-19 till October 24. Out of these, 84 inmates have recovered, two died and seven are active cases, data shared by the Delhi Prisons said.

Besides, 223 prison staff have tested positive, out of which, 210 recovered and 13 are active cases, it said.

According to jail officials, Central Jail No 2 of Tihar and Jail No 14 of Mandoli, which house the bakeries, have gradually started increasing the quantity of sweets they prepare, just like how they used to earlier.

‘Gulab Jamun’, ‘laddu’ and ‘coconut burfi’ are among the most sought after sweets prepared in these bakeries and later supplied in jails of Delhi Prisons for sale.

The inmates can purchase these sweets and outsiders can get them through shops in the jail complex.

These shops were closed in view of the pandemic situation, but they have now opened and gradually started supplying material.

'The bakeries inside the jails were functional earlier amid the pandemic. However, less quantity of sweets were prepared. The preparation is done with extra precautions keeping in mind the risks involved in the pandemic situation,' Sandeep Goel, Director General (Delhi Prisons) said.

He said the prisons are moving towards normalcy by taking all due precautions against coronavirus.

'We have also resumed ‘mulaqat’ between the inmates and their family members with due precautions. But now the inmates are allowed to meet their kin once a month to avoid overcrowding as against twice a week earlier,” Goel said.

The jail administration had suspended the bi-weekly mulaqat (family meeting) following the COVID-19 outbreak. It, however, resumed the meetings from October 1, but now only one member of a family is allowed to meet the prisoners. Earlier, three members of a family were permitted.

Since March, all activities inside the jails were suspended, but now the administration has given its go-ahead to tasks like painting ‘diyas’ (lamps) and manufacturing candles.

With Diwali approaching, the jail authorities said the inmates of Central Jail No 4 of Tihar have started painting and decorating earthen diyas.

These diyas are usually purchased from outside but painted by the prisoners and later sold through the shops in the jail complex, they said.

Also in Jail No 6, which houses women members, the inmates have started manufacturing candles, the officials said, adding that they are quite popular during Diwali.

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