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Medicinal Plants

Jail inmates of Anantpur to grow medicinal plants for Ayurveda firm

HYDERABAD (TOI): Inmates of the Prisoners’ Agricultural Colony, Anantapur, will soon be cultivating medicinal herbs for a drug company. A yield of one tonne of Alfalfa could fetch about Rs 60,000. The revenue so earned will go to the A P Prisoners’ Welfare Fund. The prisoners who work in the farm, however, will get a daily wage of Rs 70 each.

On Tuesday, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the prisons department and Himalaya Drug Company for the cultivation of herbs at PAC, Anantapur.

Director general of prisons T P Das said more such projects would be taken up at other prisons in the state depending on the success of the latest experiment. He said that, if possible, a hike in the incentives for the prisoners working on such projects would be considered. Das said initially 30 prisoners would be involved in the project at PAC Anantapur.

Babu, head, agrotech and phytochemistry of Himalaya said the skills required to cultivate medicinal plants would be imparted to prisoners by the company which would also supply seeds. The company would also purchase dried neem leaves collected from the certified organic area of the PAC as per the MoU. Babu said a similar project was taken up in the open air prison at Avathi village in Devanhalli taluk in Karnataka.

Prisoners who undergo training for the cultivation of the herbs and work in the prison farm would also have another advantage. After their release, they can take up similar cultivation for the company.

Inspector general of prisons (IG) B Sunil Kumar elaborated on the other programmes being taken up by the prisons department. He said the prestigious Asia and Pacific Conference of Correctional Administration (APCCA) meeting would be held next year in the state. The National Prisons Academy would also come up at Vikarabad, he said.

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