April 2020 News

Coronavirus: Prison Inmates Across Jammu & Kashmir Manufacture Face Masks

25 April 2020

Jammu: Hundreds of inmates in prisons across Jammu and Kashmir have volunteered and joined efforts to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with mass production of face masks on jail premises, officials said on Saturday. They said the prisoners started manufacturing the high quality polypropylene masks last month after the Prisons Department's proposal got the nod of the Lt. Governor G.C. Murmu administration which has called for universal usage of face covers to contain the spread of the contagious disease in the Union Territory. Jammu and Kashmir has recorded six coronavirus deaths so far - four in the Valley and one each in Udhampur and Baramulla districts with nearly 450 others infected in the Union Territory. 'The mask-making inside the jails in both Kashmir and Jammu divisions is going on in full swing under the watch and guidance of the concerned Jail Superintendents and we are targeting to produce one lakh masks by the month end,' a senior official told the PTI. He said the Director General of Prisons, V.K. Singh, responded positively to the proposal of the prisoners who came forward to lend their services after hearing about the shortage of masks in the open market ahead of the nationwide lockdown which came into effect on March 24. 'The DG prisons took the matter to the government. Experts in the Drug Controller Department were also consulted before the commencement of the work which saw the inmates manufacturing over 1,000 masks on an average daily despite facing shortage of cloth in the early stages,' the official said. He said the masks made at the cotton yarn factory within the jail premises were distributed among the prisoners and the jail staff. After experts suggested the use of polypropylene, the fabric was procured initially from a merchant in Jammu and later in bulk from Ludhiana in Punjab. Another official said the prisoners in the District Jail, Jammu, are leading the campaign of producing the masks and had so far manufactured over 25,000 masks. 'Major chunk of the masks had already been distributed, some given free of cost to the frontline workers and the rest sold at ?15 per piece. Our masks are of best quality and those available in the market in the range of ?50 and ?60 are no match to our product,' he said.