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Nellore: Jail inmates ready reusable cotton face masks

Nellore: Jail inmates ready reusable cotton face masksPrisoners busy making face masks on the Central Jail premises in Nellore. (Right) Three-layered cotton face masks being prepared by the jail inmates
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A 33-member team has already started Preparing face masks and now they are having orders of 40,000 on hand and are able to stitch only 1,000 per day

Nellore: Inmates of the Central Jail here, who has expertise in tailoring have turned saviors of many in the district as they started making three-layered cotton face masks with quality at an affordable cost working hours together at the prison premises for meeting the current demand.

Now, in open market, the cost of a disposable face mask is Rs 20 each and the jail officials are supplying them at Rs 15 for government needs and Rs 16 to the private persons with good quality. Till now, the disposable face masks haven't been available in the city, but the medical stores have started selling again as they had got stocks from the companies.

These retail medical stores are getting huge bucks and are now displaying that face masks and hand sanitisers are available. Amid huge demand for the disposable face masks and the issue of the huge cost, which is worrying the city population for single-use, authorities of the Central Jail have discussed with the prisoners who were having some experience in tailoring for preparing the masks in the jail premises.

They accepted for the proposal and the Jail authorities put the proposal along with design models before the District Collector for approval. He asked to discuss with the medical and health senior officials who finalised a three-layer model that is washable.

"District Medical and Health Officer approved the design and the prisoners have started the work. There were only around 10 people who expressed interest to start the activity initially and now the number is 33. Experienced tailors provided training to the other interested people and the team is now busy with making around 1,000 per day," said M R Ravi Kiran, Superintendent of the Central Jail, interacting with The Hans India.

Now, there are orders for around 40,000 face masks on hand and the team members are able to make only 1,000 per day. District Collector gave an order for 10,000; DM&HO for 10,000; Municipal Commissioner ordered for 10,000 masks, staff members from various PHCs for 6,000 and others gave orders for 3,000. The jail is ready to sell the masks even to the medical stores and private persons if the availability of stocks permits them.

Till now, the tailoring team at the Central Jail completed making of around 8,000 face masks and are now busy with completing other orders on time. Since there are restrictions on engaging additional tailors for completing the task due to the safety of inmates during amid scare on Covid-19, they are confining to their premises and available inmates who came forward to take up the activity.

Jail inmates have already been engaged in making steel utensils and other products, scented phenyl; coconut oil, shampoos, toothpaste, dairy for internal purposes; wooden furniture, uniform making for hostelers and others, preparation of vermin compost, and organic vegetable farming. The face mask preparation task is the new activity arose due to huge demand in the market and also for the requirement of the government staff members, added the superintendent.

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