After chicken curry success, Kerala prisoners to make cakes
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While hotels charge Rs 75-90 for a plate of chicken curry and Rs 7-8 for one chapati, the jail chicken-chapati combine costs just Rs 30.
It was after the chicken-chapati clicked that prison authorities started dishing out idli-sambar, the most common breakfast combination of south Indians. Adding variety, the prisons also added chicken chilly to their menu and will be
coming out with spicy biriyani soon.
Encouraged by the demand for their products, prisons are now planning to foray into new ventures like making of cake and `pappad¿ and footwear to be sold at cheaper prices.
"We began the chapati-chicken curry enterprise on an experimental basis last year. We envisaged it as a social service than as a business to make profit. Poor people who could not afford huge price for food were our target customers and we wanted to provide them quality food at cheap rate," Alexander Jacob said.
The demand for jail chapati and chicken has been increasing day by day and long queues can be seen in front of the sales outlet to buy a packet. Affordable price and home-made taste are the major attractions of the dishes, he said.
The cost for buying a few chapati-making machines was the only investment for this venture. Chicken was mainly sourced from the prison poultry farms while freshly plucked vegetables from jail gardens are used for making vegetable curries. More than 100 prisoners are working in different shifts to meet the rising demand for the prison food.
Jacob said the "service aspect" of the project was more important than its commercial results.
"We only take 10 per cent profit from the consumers. We mainly target the by-standers of patients in hospitals, poor housing settlements, old-age homes and orphanages in our projects. They can avail quality food at cheaper rates from our mobile outlets. That is what I consider as the focus of this initiative," he said.