Inmates serving life sentence in Puzhal Central Prison, in Chennai, are converting the banned Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes into customized file pads.
A specially trained team of about 25-30 inmates churn out 1,000 file pads on a daily basis in the prison. Inmates are expected to work 25 days a month making these file pads, and are paid between Rs 160 and Rs 200 for eight hours of work a day – depending on whether they are skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled.
The shredded notes are first turned into pulp, and then poured into a die-mould so the mixture solidifies. They are then converted into the hard pads – the entire thing is a manual process.
Speaking to PTI, TN Prison Department, Deputy Inspector General (in-charge), A Murugesan said, "While the Reserve Bank of India has offered 70 tons of shredded notes to us, Puzhal jail officials have so far taken delivery of 9 tons ... We will bring the rest of it in a phased manner."
He added that about 1.5 tons of banned currency has been used to make the file pads so far.
A senior official told PTI that the stationery is being used in state government departments and their agencies.
The official also said that they are in talks to upgrade the hand-made stationery-making unit at Puzhal into a semi-automated facility, which will enhance productivity.
The file pads being used at government offices are semi-corrugated, hard pad with corners embellished with red-coloured cloth. There are approximately 1.5 lakh file-pads produced every month in Tamil Nadu.
(With PTI inputs)