Inmates to ‘entrepreneurs’: A story of Parbat prisoners

- AGANDHAR TIWARI, Parbat
Inmates to ‘entrepreneurs’: A story of Parbat prisoners

Oct 12, 2014-

One will surely be in for a surprise upon taking a peek inside the compound of the five-metre high barb-wired fence of the district prison. For the first-time observers, the scene inside the prison is no different than that of a cottage industry or even a factory. The scene of people busy chipping away bamboo, sewing clothes, and buying daily essentials from a shop under a tent in one corner, though mind-blowing, are the unvarnished truth of the district prison.

In no way different than a factory, all 76 inmates can be found working diligently. According to one inmate Chandra Poudel, 52, of Karkineta-4 who had arrived in the prison four months ago under the charge of polygamy, was elated after learning a new skill and earning more than what he made outside. Since his arrival in prison, Poudel along with his fellow inmates have made about 30 ‘mudhas’ (traditional Nepali stool made out of bamboo). Moreover, selling such mudhas for a price of anywhere between Rs 400 and Rs 1,200, Poudel has earned Rs 15,000 till date.

As the mudhas are in high-demand, easy to make and most profitable, most of the inmates are engaged in manufacturing them, said ‘Naike’ (an inmate appointed as the leader of the inmates) Sujan Thapa. According to him, some of the inmates made up to Rs 20,000 in a month through its sale.

Meanwhile, prison security guard Bishal Prakash said people chose to buy the mudhas manufactured in the prison as they were far better in quality and durable than those found in the market. Apart from mudhas, the inmates make all kinds of wooden furniture including, tea table set, comfort chairs, among others. As the prison management provides essential raw material, they were unquestionable in terms of quality, said Jailor Hari Prasad Gautam. “It is our way of keeping them occupied, provide a homely environment and help them find ways to earn a living while reflecting on their past,” Gautam said.

According to Gautam, five inmates that have been operating a tailor shop in the prison send up to Rs 15,000 per month each to their families. Gautam said that prison administration has been, in close cooperation with various organisations, organising regular training workshop in accordance to the demand of prisoners.

The prison administration said that they have all the infrastructures necessary to impart such trainings. While a small library has been setup, the administration has also been providing various magazines, books, and newspapers in accordance to the needs of the inmates. The only complaint the inmates had was that they were crammed up in their cells. The prison built with a capacity to hold 25 inmates houses 76 inmates. “We are satisfied with everything else but due to the crammed conditions we have a hard time sleeping and using the toilet in the summer,” complained Ram Bahadur Pariyar, one of the inmates.

Published: 13-10-2014 09:02

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