A bio-gas plant with a capacity of treating 750 kilograms of waste per day, a herbal garden that boasts of a variety of medicinal herbs, a water recycling unit providing potable water to thousands are some of the green initiatives taken by authorities at the Tihar jail.
The jail has also set up eco-friendly candle and fabric units, solar power plants and organic compost pits in its premises.
"Though we started the units to provide more avenues and impart skills to the inmates, gradually we have realized the importance of operating such eco-friendly set-ups," says a jail official.
Tihar, one of the largest prison complexes in south Asia, was set up in 1957 and houses around 14,000 prisoners. The herbal garden at Tihar grows kalpa vriksh, nargis, satawar (aspharagus), lemongrass, neem, cardamom among other varieties.
"The inmates are allotted different tasks as per their talent and willingness. They generally approach us and ask for work that suits them," Jyoti Chaudhary, Assistant Superintendent, Jail 6, Tihar told PTI.
The bio-gas plant at the jail converts kitchen waste to cooking gas with a per-day capacity of treating 750 kilograms of waste.
"The bio-gas plant takes 15-20 days to convert kitchen left-over into cooking gas. Technicians visit the plant and guide the inmates about its running. Now it is fully operated by us," says an official at Jail 2, where the plant is stationed.
"The waste is kept in a 'predigester' for 4 days that is then moved to the 'receiving tank' for 5 days. The waste is finally processed in 'main digester' for 15 days thus completing the process," says inmate Gauri Shankar (44), who runs the plant along with another inmate daily.
Jail No 6 housing women convicts at Tihar is a chirpy place as women dressed in saris, salwars and pullovers can be seen stitching, weaving and making various snacks for the TJ brand.
"Incense sticks, pots, candles, vermicelli, artificial flowers, papad, pickles etc are made by the women convicts here. The TJ brand is going places now. Our products sell like hot cakes at emporiums, trade fairs, Dilli Haats, District courts and other state outlets," says Assistant Superintendent Chaudhary.
"The products also symbolise the confidence and courage of the inmates who are trying to build their lives despite the adversity," the official adds.