Taking a cue from the dabbawallas in Mumbai, the women inmates in Tihar Jail are set to launch their own tiffin services, making Tihar the first prison to start such a business.
The project was reportedly conceptualised a month ago with an idea to keep the inmates busy, mentally occupied and fetch them some additional income. According to the plan, prisoners would prepare the meal and provide lunch to corporate houses and government offices across the city.
“We are planning to start with the women’s jail first and expand the project to the other jails according to the demand. The number of tiffins, inmates to be engaged in the project, the cuisine and menu depends on the demand. Tihar will try its best to satisfy the customers and give them excellent quality and tasty food,” Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra told Newsline.
The cost of procuring lunch-boxes and eatables will come from jail’s funds, Mehra said.
The ball will be set rolling after all equations of initial costs and earning profits or incurring losses is worked out. Sources said no less than 150 to 200 lunches per day will be delivered to the customers in the first phase of the project.
Prison authorities are already in talks with several business houses and offices to ascertain the exact demand for this service. “We are still trying to find out who is interested in this model. A large number of corporates and government houses have expressed interest, but we are yet to receive a ‘firm demand’. The lunch service is expected to start as soon as we start getting orders,” Mehra said.
Once initiated, the service will be an addition to Tihar’s bakery and snacks trade that sells ISO-certified biscuits, nut crackers, salty mixtures and other snack items.
“As of now, the project is still in the formulation stage. The exact budget and costs cannot be ascertained till we receive the real picture of the demand. However, as of now, the service will only provide lunch. Providing breakfast and dinners has not been considered yet,” Tihar Jail spokesperson Sunil Gupta said.