Now, AP prison inmates to produce masks, sanitisers

Vijayawada: The sudden surge in the number of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in Andhra Pradesh has led to an increased demand for alcohol-based hand sanitisers and face masks. However, most stores have run out of stock and demand seems to only increase.
Prisoners in four central jails — Visakhapatnam, Nellore, Rajahmundry and Kadapa, have been roped in to manufacture face masks in bulk, while those is Visakhapatnam prisons will manufacture hand sanitisers to meet the demand.
Sources said that the Drug Control Administration (DCA) will give temporary permission to the prisons department to manufacture hand sanitisers. The authorities have been asked not to supply the finished product at a price higher than what has been fixed by the governments.
“The prisons department will procure the raw material needed to prepare hand sanitisers and the inmates have been trained on the procedure,” inspector general of prisons G Jayavardhan told TOI.
“Currently, the inmates of four central prisons in the state are producing over 6,000 to 7,000 face masks a day. Now, they will help meet the demand for sanitisers,” Jayavardhan said.
If everything goes as planned, the prisoners in Vizag Central Prison will manufacture at least 2,000 litres of hand sanitisers a day, said a senior officer with prisons department.
So far, the inmates of four central prisons in the state have produced over 1.2 lakh masks. These are being supplied to the officials of medical and health, municipality, police, revenue and a few other departments, who have been deployed to enforce the lockdown.
A few private organisations have procured the masks for distribution among employees.
Speaking to TOI, superintendent of Vizag Central Prison S Rahul and superintendent of Nellore Central Prison MR Ravi Kiran said that prison inmates are manufacturing three-layered elastic band and thread variety reusable face masks. They further said each mask is sold for Rs 15.
Meanwhile, sources said that the prisons are capable of producing more masks as the inmates are skilled, but shortage of cloth and other machinery is hindering the production.
The prisons department is taking steps to ensure proper packing for small units such as 100 ml, 200 ml and 500 ml sanitisers besides bulk supply of 1 to 5 litres for hospitals and other establishments.
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