Rajendra Agriculture University, Pusa, Samastipur, has outlined a comprehensive plan to motivate the prisoners and undertrials in several sub-divisional jails of North Bihar, including Khudiram Bose Memorial Central Jail at Muzaffarpur, to learn the skills and technologies of mushroom farming.
The agriculture university has also initiated motivational campaigns among the prisoners and undertrials to boost mushroom farming in the state.
University scientists would first impart the necessary skills to the inmates of the Khudiram Bose Central Jail prisoners.
A team of experts from the university demonstrated the technologies inside the premises of the central jail in Muzaffarpur. Nearly 500 prisoners took part in the daylong training programme.
The visiting team of scientists headed by the principal investigator-cum-project in-charge of the mushroom production unit, Dayal Ram, along with other technical staff shortlisted 50 prisoners and provided them training for scientific cultivation and mushroom production.
The tips included preservation of seeds and spawns and farming mushroom inside thatched houses and huts with low cost.
Dayal Ram told The Telegraph, 50 prisoners have expressed their willingness to adopt mushroom cultivation once they come out of the prison wall. They have been provided booklets on the scientific method mushroom farming.
Vice-chancellor of Rajendra Agriculture University Mewalal Choudhary said the team of experts of the mushroom production unit would pay a whirlwind visit to all the sub-divisional jails in north Bihar to impart training and techniques of growing the crop.
“We are concentrating on imparting training to prisoners. Our primary objective is to boost mushroom production in the state,” the vice-chancellor said.
Choudhary said the move would discourage prisoners to continue with their path of violence and anti-social activities, which have landed them in jail.
“This could give them an opportunity for the betterment of not only themselves but also their families and the state. It would be a wholesome development,” he added.
The Rajendra Agriculture University has made arrangements to provide financial assistance to the prisoners, once they come out of jails. They would also get loans for running the production unit.
The university is also contemplating to set up a spawn unit of mushroom in September this year for multiplying it from the mother culture to increase the accessibility of seeds for the larger interest of boosting its production.
University officials said their objective is to enrich the technologies of farming and enhance mushroom production for its consumption in the jails. Prisoners would also get a source of income by producing mushrooms and they may look after the needs and requirements of their families once outside the prison.