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When Prison Inmates Become Chef!

Ever imagine of hot rice cakes, deserts being served outside the District Jail in Mahabubnagar, Telangana? Or Hot and fluffy tasty idlis available at ₹5, outside a jail. Apart from the delicious flavour and odd location, the attractive pricing and the best part is that prison inmates run this idli stall. The idlis made by the prison inmates are sold in the wee hours from the jail. As delicious idli plate get the word of mouth promotion, people from nearby areas started gathering and gets crowded. They are ready to stand in the long queues for their morning breakfast and the takeaway facility.

Locals with ecstasy spread about it and also explains what exactly this idli selling by prison inmates is. This is called as ‘idli project’, it is a social enterprise, operates on an absolutely no-profit basis. Through the purpose is to show the inmates a way of livelihood and a golden chance to face people and communicate with them which are from outside the prison four walls. “There is no interaction as such. The idli plate is handed over after payment is done at a makeshift cashier table. The inmates have prison guards watching them and the customers,” said Ram Babu, a resident of the nearby area of Mahabubnagar jail.

Idli of Jail in Mahbubnagar
Source: The Hindu

The best part about this stall is that it is eco-friendly, thus spreading an environment conservation message to everyone who is its customer. The idlis are served over a banana leaf on steel plates so that ban on plastic can be propagated as the message. Those who look for takeaway parcels have to bring their own containers or tiffin boxes as the stall, and the inmates provide no plastic services. The stall operates for fixed wee hours, i.e. four hours in the morning from 7 a.m. and for two hours in the evening.

While the cheap cost is the major part for which people are standing at this idli stall, some say it is their way of supporting the prison inmates to reform and also promoting environmental protection.

According to sources, on the first day, the inmates sold close to 700 plates. Now they are currently selling over 2,000 plates every day marking up their profit. Whatever the situation is, the beautiful part is that the prison inmates are getting a good chance to support themselves and as well as giving a contribution in environment protection and spreading the message of love, Harmony, peace and conservation.

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