A restaurant in Delhi staffed by prisoners from India’s largest prison has garnered praise for its hygiene and the politeness of the staff.
The “Tihar Food Court” in west Delhi, was started three weeks ago by Tihar prison as an attempt to help a rehabilitate its inmates.
Located just 500 metres from the prisoners’ dormitories, the 50 seat restaurant is decorated with paintings that the prisoners themselves have painted.
One customer, banker Gaurav Gupta, had this to say “The food is average, but the hygiene factor is really good, very clean. And it’s a good thing they are employing prisoners.” Employees were trained by a nearby high class hotel and for their labour are paid just under a pound a day.
The vegetarian menu’s popular dishes include samosas,and kidney beans with rice. The most expensive thing on the menu is the thali, costing the equivalent of around £1.50
Manager, Mohammad Asim, is a convicted murderer who spent 15 years inside for his crime said: “Those who come once to have our food come back again,” Only inmates with an unblemished record from their time inside are permitted to work in the restaurant.
Any profits are ploughed back into prisoner welfare and vocational training.
“The restaurant was set up to give employment to the inmates and project the positive aspects of prison work to the public,” said a prison spokesman Sunil Gupta.
Customers had few qualms dealing with the Tihar prisoners.”I think that Tihar authorities have observed them for years and have decided they can be placed in front of the public … so I don’t think there is a need to be worried,” said customer Atul Singh.
One employee Bal Krishan Grover, who has served 13 years in the jail says he enjoys working at the restaurant so much that he has plans to continue in the restaurant trade as soon as he is released. “My aim is to set up a branch of the Tihar restaurant,” said Grover.