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Punjab jails promote cigarettes to maintain inmates!
Charanjit Bhullar

Bathinda, October 10
While the Punjab Government has banned smoking at public places, it continues to provide round-the-clock supply of beedis and cigarettes at all central and district jails in the state. The exercise generates handsome revenue, which, in turn, is spent on the welfare of inmates.

The state has seven central and six districts jails that house 18,000 inmates. On the one hand these jails have been under the scanner for drug abuse, on the other hand the state government itself is promoting similar habits among jail inmates.

Beedis and cigarettes are freely available in jail canteens that function under the supervision of jail welfare officers.

The sale of beedis/cigarettes has been going on in nine jails in the state. From January 1, 2005, to July 2011, beedis/cigarettes worth Rs 1 crore have been sold in these jails. This means jail inmates in the state consume beedis/cigarettes worth Rs 4,200 daily.

As per information provided by the Jail Department under the Right to Information Act, the Hoshiarpur jail tops the list in selling beedis/cigarettes in the state. Tobacco items worth Rs 17.79 lakh were sold in this jail over the past around six years. This generated a profit of around Rs 1.77 lakh.

During the same period, the Kapurthala jail registered a sale of beedis/cigarettes worth Rs 15.37 lakh, generating a profit of around Rs 1.53 lakh.

The figures were Rs 9.04 lakh in case of the Ferozepur central jail and Rs 6.75 lakh in case of the Sangrur jail. The Sangrur jail earned Rs 69,023 from such sales.





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