POST TIME: 1 June, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Rise in budget for prisoners’ special meals on the cards
Deepak Acharjee, Dhaka

Rise in budget for prisoners’ special meals on the cards

The jail authorities have sought an increase in the budget for providing ‘special meals’ to each prisoner on special days in the country. They have sent a proposal for increasing the amount from Tk 30 to Tk 250 to the home ministry’s Security Service Division recently, sources said. The authorities have also planned to include vegetables and semolina (suji halwa) on the breakfast menu for jail inmates, the sources added.

In 2014, the Security Service Division increased the allocation for iftar for a prisoner from Tk 15 to Tk 30. The proposal for the special meals came amid allegations that the jail authorities do not provide sufficient food to the prisoners as per their requirements and that is why most of the jail inmates are suffering from malnutrition.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of prisons (headquarters) Bazlur Rashid told The Independent that they have sent the proposal to the home ministry for increasing the allocation of special day meals after evaluating the ongoing market price. “We formed a committee in this regard. It recommended the amount after considering the existing allocation and ongoing market price for providing a special meal on every special day,” the DIG said. “We are hopeful that the ministry concerned will approve the proposal considering the ongoing prices of essential commodities,” he also said.

“Now, we provide special meal to every jail inmate by collecting money from the existing regular meal budget,” he added.

The DIG said that they would soon provide new items like suji halwa and vegetables for breakfast for the prisoners.

At present, the jail authorities provide 14g of jaggery (gur) and 87g of bread (ruti) as breakfast to a prisoner.

The joint secretary (Jail Wing) of the Security Services Division, Sayed Bealal Hossain, confirmed that they have received the proposal for increasing the tariff for special day meals and it was now under consideration. “It is the matter of the finance ministry to increase the tariff of special day meals,” he said.

Hossain also said that they have increased the tariff of iftar for jail inmates from Tk 15 to Tk 30 considering the market price. The new tariff has been executed from the first day of Ramadan.

In the proposal, the jail authorities said that they will need Tk 19,306,760 annually for providing special day meals and it would be allocated from the budget of Bangladesh Jail. Sources said the authorities provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to all jail inmates. The lunch menu includes rice, one piece of fish (29 g) or meat (36 g), vegetables (247 g) and lentil for an inmate, while dinner comprises rice, vegetables (247 g) and lentil.

The jail authorities provide special meals on special days in the country like Victory Day (December 16), Independence Day (March 26), Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Azha and Pahela Baishakh (first day of the Bengali New Year). The special day menu includes pulao, fish curry, mutton rezala, chicken curry, vegetables, salad, pan (betel leaf) and supari (betel nut).

According to sources, there are around 87,750 inmates lodged in various jails across the country.