Top corporates line up at Tihar to buy Holi colours

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on March 05, 2012 Published on March 05, 2012

Top-rung Indian corporates are lining up at the gates of Tihar Prison to make their Holi colourful.

From IT giants to five-star hotels, 24 companies have gone to Asia's largest jail to procure ‘gulal' and other colours produced by convicts in a quality-controlled environment.

“Companies such as Wipro Infotech, Maruti Suzuki, Birla Soft, LG Life Sciences, Tech Mahindra, Ranbaxy, Royal Bank of Scotland, and five-star hotels such as Taj Palace Hotel, ITC Maurya Sheraton, Hyatt Regency and Shangrila Hotel in Janpath have procured more than 500 cans containing herbal Holi colours,” a senior official of Tihar Prisons said today.

Made from maize starch, these edible grade ‘gulals' are available in seven radiant colours and stress-busting seven herbal aromas, he said. Colour red is available in ‘fresh rose' aroma, orange in ‘kesar-haldi', pink in ‘lilly of valley', green in ‘lemon grass', sky blue in ‘fresh mint', yellow in ‘lal chandan' and magenta in ‘lavender'

“All the colours are made through complete handmade process. The only machine used is the digital weighing scale. They do not contain any heavy metals and are beneficial to the skin,” said Swami Vishalanand, an activist with Divya Jyoti Jagrati Sansthan, the biggest NGO in Tihar jail complex engaged in rehabilitation and reform programmes.

“These colours have been made by convicts lodged in jail number 5. A total of over 80 convicted inmates got trained by our NGO to make them. Six prisoners who were released recently and who were earlier engaged in making of these colours, are today earning their living by selling these colours. Complete hygiene is maintained amongst inmates while making the colours,” he said.

These herbal colours are available in environment-friendly packaging which meets international standards, a jail official said. A pack of 120 gm costs Rs 65, he said.

The NGO said, “In 2010, the DJJS started it on an experimental basis inside the jail and with the help of inmates, we produced only 500 kg. Last year the production went up to 6,000 kg. This year there is demand for 14,000 kg. We have also got export orders from the US and the UK.”

The official said these colours were available at two Gurgaon malls where free of cost space have been provided to promote the products.

Published on March 05, 2012
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