Fueling Rehabilitation: Inmates Operate Petrol Pumps Outside Central Jail in Patiala

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

In a groundbreaking move aimed at rehabilitation and revenue generation, Cabinet Minister Harpal Cheema inaugurated an IndianOil Corporation (IOC) station situated just outside the Central Jail in Patiala. The unique feature of this fuel station is that it will be operated by the prisoners themselves.

A distinguished gathering, including ADGP, Jails, Arunpal Singh, IG, Jails, Roop Kumar Arrora, Deputy Commissioner, Sakshi Sawhney, and IOC’s CJM Piyush Mittal, marked the inauguration ceremony, underscoring the significance of the initiative.

Minister Cheema disclosed that the government had set an ambitious goal to establish 12 such fuel stations outside jails across the state. Currently, four are operational in Ludhiana, Rupnagar, Hoshiarpur, and Ferozepur. The minister highlighted that these petrol pumps, a collaboration between the Punjab Jail Development Board and IOC, would be managed by well-behaved prisoners.

The primary objective, as emphasized by Cheema, is to boost the revenue of the Jail Department. The funds generated through these petrol pumps are earmarked for the improvement and development of the department. Beyond financial implications, the initiative is designed to contribute to the overall well-being of the prisoners.

One of the noteworthy outcomes of this endeavor is the opportunity it provides to inmates to work outside the confines of the jail premises. This move is expected to have positive effects on their mental and physical health, fostering a sense of purpose and contribution to society.

ADGP, Jails Department, Arunpal Singh, elaborated on the multifaceted nature of the facility. In addition to selling fuel, the station will house a café, bakery, and retail outlet. This holistic approach aims not only to make the venture self-sustainable but also to provide vocational training and employment opportunities for the incarcerated individuals.

The inauguration ceremony was not just a symbolic event but a tangible step toward transforming the correctional system into a platform for rehabilitation and skill development. The unique collaboration between the government, the private sector, and the incarcerated population sets an inspiring precedent for the rest of the nation. As these petrol pumps become beacons of change, they symbolize the potential for redemption and a brighter future for those who find themselves behind bars.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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