x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Indian jail to offer retail items online

Asia's largest prison, Delhi's Tihar Jail, is offering goods over the Internet made by inmates including murderers and kidnappers.

NEW DELHI // Asia's largest prison, Delhi's Tihar Jail, has taken its first step into online retailing, offering goods over the Internet made by inmates including murderers and kidnappers.

Tihar, notorious for its overcrowding and tough criminals, is home to a bakery that produces 13 kinds of biscuits and a vast paper-making unit that turns out high-end stationery under the TJ brand name.

Its workshops manned by 714 specially selected convicts also turn out doormats, shirts, black shoes, mustard oil, and polished benches that are used in Delhi government offices.

In the last financial year, its annual revenue passed 110 million rupees (Dh9.1m), and after opening stores across the Indian capital, the prison authorities have now launched www.tihartj.nic.in

"In the last year and a half, we realised that we have good production capacity, so it was time to think of the marketing," said Rajesh Goyal, the superintendent of the factory and the brains behind the website.

"Initially we are aiming to deliver our products to customers in Delhi, but if international orders come, we will be happy to supply them," he added.

The visually appealing website showcases food, furniture, paintings and clothes, all made by convicts.

Computer-savvy prisoners write the html coding for the website, which lists each item made in the factory, along with pictures and a comprehensive price list for buyers to peruse.

Currently, items can only be ordered by phone, but authorities say that by December, customers will be able to buy and pay for products online.