In eight districts in Uttar Pradesh, jail inmates will now take care of cow shelters.
Director General (Prisons) Anand Kumar said it is a part of a pilot project which will later be replicated by inmates of prisons across the state.
Jail inmates in Sitapur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Shahjahanpur, Orai, Barabanki, Lalitpur, Varanasi, and Farrukhabad have been asked to look after the cow shelters in their respective districts.
"Under the scheme, jail inmates, particularly undertrials, will be engaged to look after the upkeep of 'gaushalas' and animal shelter homes as part of their daily routine. The plan has been formulated by the UP prisons and animal husbandry departments," the official said.
The prisons department will also pay the inmates for the services rendered by them.
DG Jails said the initiative would also make undertrials feel self-reliant and also divert them to doing something useful.
He said that as of now, police and jail authorities will provide security and ferry inmates to the destination and bring them back to the prison.
"We had first asked all jail superintendents to conduct a survey in their respective districts to identify government animal shelter homes. Inmates with a clean record will be encouraged. Those showing willingness to look after animals were also taken into account to work there," he said.
Currently, five central jails and six district jails in the state have animal shelter homes on their campuses. The inmates also manufacture various products from animal residue, while a vast quantity of milk is also produced from these prisons.