Shimla: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Wednesday flagged off three mobile canteens from the state capital that will be operated by inmates of the state`s jails.
This is part of an effort to allow prisoners to emerge from jail after finishing their sentence, equipped to earn a livelihood.
The Chief Minister said the inmates were being given training in different trades and efforts were on to upgrade their skills, so that they can take up self-employment avenues after finishing their sentence.
The state has declared one barrack each in six jails as open-air barracks; the jail in Bilaspur is an open jail.
Singh said the experiment with the open jail concept in Bilaspur town had been successful. At Bilaspur, prisoners work in the daytime to earn money, enabling them to support their families.
Himachal Pradesh is also the first state in the country to start video-conferencing facilities for prisoners, so they can interact with their families back home.
Additional Director General of Police SR Mardi said four more mobile canteens would be purchased in future.
The mobile canteens would be operated by inmates of the Model Central Jail in Kanda near Shimla, the Distract Jail in Dharamsala and the Sub-Jail in Solan.
Mardi said an orchestra has also been established by the prison department for the prisoners at Nahan, so prisoners can make some money through performances.