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Evening rush to savour jail canteen samosa, jalebi

- Espresso coffee on cards, prison facility makes Rs 50000 profit within five months

Crispy samosas and juicy jalebis of Beur Central Jail canteen have become a rage among inmates.

Every evening, there is an unusual rush at the canteen counters for the delicious duo. Around 800 pieces of samosa and an equal number of jalebis are sold between 3.30pm and 5pm.

There are around 2,400 inmates. If the sales figures are to be believed, almost every third inmate savours samosa and jalebi because outsiders do not have access to the jail canteen.

The Beur jail inmates run the canteen. They are the only consumers too, unlike their Sabarmati jail counterparts.

The Ahmedabad-based Sabarmati jail inmates’ bhajiya (fry) is a big hit among Amdavadis. The prisoners sell the snack item from a stall near Subhash bridge across the Sabarmati river. They also have a “mobile bhajiya van”.

The Beur jail canteen scores on varieties, though. Chowmein, egg roll, chilli chicken, chhole-bhature and idli-sambhar are on the menu at fair price. Ice cream is also served on demand. After samosa and jalebi, chilli chicken and egg rolls are the most “liked” dishes.

Espresso coffee would be available during winter. “The decision to provide coffee to the prisoners has been taken on the recommendation of the canteen committee,” said superintendent of jail Shivendra Priyadarshi.

Chief minister Nitish Kumar had inaugurated the jail canteen on April 25. Prisoners were given access to it in the first week of May. A senior officer of the state’s high security prison said: “The canteen has made a profit of around Rs 50,000 till October 31 because of brisk sale of food items.”

The prison department has introduced smart card system to help inmates purchase food from the canteen. “We have provided multi-purpose smart cards to the prisoners for cashless transactions,” said BCP Singh, director (industries), jail.