Tea cost for Ti­har un­der­tri­als jumps 500%

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - NATION - Prawesh Lama prawesh.lama@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Ti­har Jail au­thor­i­ties are fac­ing a cu­ri­ous is­sue th­ese days — how to re­duce the tea bill for un­der­tri­als that’s spiked 500% since 2008-09.

The jail pays for tea served to un­der­tri­als held in lock-ups at the six Delhi courts while they await their hear­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to of­fi­cial records, the quan­tity of tea served per cup has re­mained at 200ml since 2008-09. The av­er­age num­ber of cups served daily when courts are in ses­sion is 1,000 — un­changed all th­ese years too.

Even the num­ber of pris­on­ers (con­victs and un­der­tri­als) in Ti­har has risen marginally since 2008, when the jail had 11,553 pris­on­ers, as com­pared to 13,552 in 2013. But the tea bill has regis­tered a mas­sive jump. From just un­der ` 5 lakh in 2008-09, Ti­har au­thor­i­ties have been pre­sented with a bill of ` 29.05 lakh this year, a ` 6-lakh leap from last year. And this isn’t fancy Dar­jeel­ing tea that’s be­ing served.

The es­ca­lat­ing cost of tea has prompted Ti­har au­thor­i­ties to look at ways to cut this ex­pense.

A se­nior jail of­fi­cial said au­thor­i­ties were work­ing to cut ex­pen­di­ture with­out com­pro­mis­ing on the qual­ity or quan­tity of tea, a ba­sic need of un­der­tri­als await­ing their hear­ings.

Dur­ing a meet­ing held at the prison head­quar­ters re­cently, jail su­per­in­ten­dents were ad­vised to push for more video­con­fer­enc­ing fa­cil­i­ties and court hear­ing within prison premises to en­sure a sig­nif­i­cant drop in the ex­pen­di­ture of money and man­power.

Speak­ing to HT, DIG (prisons) Mukesh Prasad said there were no loop­holes in the sys­tem and that ven­dors were in­vited through an open sys­tem of e- ten­der­ing. “We de­cided to use pa­per cups so that we could save money. Th­ese pa­per cups are cheaper and bet­ter. The price of milk, sugar and trans­porta­tion has in­creased over the years. This is the rea­son why the cost has gone up in all th­ese years. Be­cause there is a trans­par­ent sys­tem in place, when­ever the bid is done it is done in front of ev­ery­one con­cerned and the prison of­fi­cials.”

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