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Fighting COVID-19: By Producing Masks and Sanitisers, Telangana And Uttar Pradesh Inmates Join The Fight Against Coronavirus

Fighting COVID-19: By Producing Masks and Sanitisers, Telangana And Uttar Pradesh Inmates Join The Fight Against Coronavirus


  1. Theres a worldwide shortage of face masks to check COVID-19 spread
  2. Prisoners in Telangana will be producing 60,000 face masks by April end
  3. Prisoners in Noida and Ghaziabad have produced 85,000 face masks in total
New Delhi: 

Owing to the highly contagious nature of SARS-CoV-2, all healthcare workers as well as citizens stepping out of their houses have been advised to wear masks in India. Disposable masks are given more preference as it can be thrown after single use and hence there will be less chances of the virus spreading. With COVID-19 being a global pandemic, shortage of personal protective equipments (PPE) and masks has been a cause of concern across the world as it has been in India. To tackle this shortage, prisoners in some states are stepping up to help.

Inmates of prisons in Telangana are making thousands of masks and sanitisers for doctors, policemen, health workers and others in the frontline. The Central Prisons and district jails of the state are producing and supplying these items to the health professionals, government departments and Information Technology firms, an official told NDTV. 

The Telangana Prisons Department is selling these products under the 'My Nation' brand and has also come out with a Health and Hygiene kit, consisting washable masks, hand sanitisers, hand wash, bath soaps and phenyl. The inmates were trained by chemists on how to make sanitisers, while professional tailors at the prisons taught them how to stitch the masks, the official further explained. 

Around 9,000 face masks and 3,000 litres of sanitiser are being produced every day at Chanchalguda and Cherlapally central prisons in Hyderabad and other district jails, the official claimed. 

The Prisons Department supplies the finished products to medical and health department personnel, police, power utilities and postal staff, among other government agencies. Various Public Sector Undertakings have also placed bulk orders. In fact, even before the lockdown was announced the initial order for face masks came from some IT companies, the official said. 

After the demand for their products shot up, the Prisons Department deployed inmates exclusively for producing masks and sanitisers. 

As many as 50 inmates make 2,000 face masks every day at Chanchalguda central prisons alone, and we have already sold over 30,000 face masks and around 6,000 litres of sanitiser. Right now, we have on hand orders to supply 60,000 face masks which are to be delivered by the month end, the official added.

The face masks being produced are washable and reusable, making them more sustainable. Both the masks and sanitisers are also priced lower than products available in the market but the officer didn't disclose the amount to NDTV as it depends upon the buyer, he said.

On the other hand, in northern part of the country, prisoners in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar jails have stitched around 85,000 washable, cotton face masks, to help protect people from the deadly virus. Over 57,000 of these masks have been made at the Dasna jail in Ghaziabad, while 27,500 have been stitched at the Luksar jail in Gautam Buddh Nagar, an official from the UP prison department told NDTV. 

The superintendent of Dasna and Luksar jail informed NDTV,

We started manufacturing in these two prisons right after Holi. As more and more information about the coronavirus outbreak started coming in, some of the skilled prison inmates took the responsibility and volunteered for the job. At present, 20 inmates at the Dasna jail and 12-14 at Luksar are engaged in this manufacturing. They make a daily wage between Rs 25 and Rs 40 for their work, depending on the nature of their job - skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled.

He further explained that the fabric used in the masks is procured locally and can be washed and re-used. The Superintendent lauded the commitment and intention of the inmates engaged in the work, he said, 

There are all kinds of people in the world, good and bad, both. Here also we have a lot of good people who have devoted themselves for this work now.

The officer said the masks have been used by the inmates in the jails in the two adjoining districts as well as by police personnel and those in the Uttar Pradesh provincial armed constabulary (PAC). 

These masks have also been made available to NGOs working for the poor people and some other organisations working during the pandemic. However, the problem is that we might need to pause the production as the stock of raw material is limited and the fabric is not readily available in the market due to the nationwide lockdown. The inmates are using the fabric procured earlier. Once that stock is exhausted, we will have to figure out what to do next, the Superintendent signed off.

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