Thrissur: Seeking to tap the hugely popular online food market, prison authorites in Kerala Thursday began offering piping hot biryani prepared by jail inmates. In the first phase, the plan is to sell biryani combo online, priced at Rs 127. The combo, which was specifically designed for online sale, includes 300 grams of biryani rice, one roasted chicken leg piece, three chappathis, a cup cake, salad, pickle and one litre bottled water along with a plantain leaf to eat the food, authorities at the Viyyur central jail, where it is being prepared.
The prison authorities have tied up with Swiggy, online food delivery player, to deliver food from the Central Jail premises. Freedom Food Factory, an enterprise selling food prepared by inmates at Kerala’s prisons, has been engaged in the business since 2011. “We are going online for the first time,” Superintendent of Viyyur Central Jail, Nirmalanandan Nair told PTI.
“We started making and selling chappathis in 2011. It was the Viyyur Central jail which started making chappathis on commercial scale. The idea of going online was proposed by jail DGP Rishiraj Singh,” he said.
The jail food was a hit among people due to its quality and low price. “We have already been selling various biryani, non-vegetarian curries, bakery items and other from Viyyur jail. We also have counter sales. But now we have decided to go online and sell a biryani combo initially,” he added. Noting that the new facility would start from July 11, Nair said based on the feedback more items would be sold online. “This does not mean that we are stopping the over-the-counter sale. As of now, Swiggy will deliver food within six km radius,” he said.
At present, the jail sells around 25,000 chappathis, and over 500 biryanis a day, which is prepared by around 100 inmates, who are supervised by prison officials. The state prison department is also considering a proposal to open portals of one of its central jails for common people to spend a day and night there to get the ‘feel’ of jail life by charging a fee. The ‘pay and stay’ initiative is planned as part of a unique prison museum coming up in the premises of Viyyur Central prison in Thrissur district.