The migrant workers earlier used to work in a manufacturing unit in Srinagar.(Sourced Photo)
The migrant workers earlier used to work in a manufacturing unit in Srinagar.(Sourced Photo)

Migrants return from J&K, become entrepreneurs in Bihar

Bihar government is providing assistance to migrant workers with skill assessment, loans, setting up unit and marketing of produce to help them establish their business.
By Sandeep Bhaskar | Edited by Abhinav Sahay | Hindustan Times, Bettiah
UPDATED ON JUL 25, 2020 11:42 PM IST

A group of migrant workers, who returned to Bihar from Jammu and Kashmir following some respite in nationwide restrictions, have set up a paver block manufacturing workshop at Madhopur-Bairiya village in Gaunaha block of West Champaran.

These 12 migrants are among the 46 workers identified by the district administration to be transformed into entrepreneurs from labourers.

“We are getting good support here and we need to excel in our business. Days are not far off, when we would be able to give employment to others if things went our way,” said Suraj Kumar, 28, who has about 14 years of experience in manufacturing of paver at a factory near old Rawalpora airport in Srinagar.

“Coronavirus has certainly been a factor and an eye-opener for us. The biggest problem lies in the fact that we chose to be defensive and not to risk anything in our lives,” said Maksudan Yadav, a resident of Madhopur-Bairiya village, a worker at the unit.

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Their employer described them as hard workers. “It’s certainly a loss for us as they had pretty good experiences ranging from two years to 14 years with us. However, our door is always open for them,” said Umar Bashir, who runs JD group of industries in Srinagar.

Within one month of working together, as many as 14 workers, 12 of them from Srinagar, have churned out about 75,000 pebbles (12x12 with one inch thickness), besides flower pots (about 60 pieces), cement bench (one piece), bed, tables and chairs.

“All the materials needed such as stone dust, pebbles, sand, colour, hardeners and cement are readily available here,” said Om Prakash Yadav.

“We used to earn 3.5 for each block in Srinagar which had to be shared among ten to twelve workers. However, we managed to save close to 1 lakh in seven to eight months of working due to the volume of production,” said Rahul Yadav.

Watch:Bihar floods | ‘Over 10 lakh people affected, 1 lakh+ evacuated’: SDMA

While, they have received orders for paver blocks from the panchayat and block officer, district development commissioner (DDC) also placed an order of 6,000 paver blocks.

“The orders from panchayat and block office have been placed. We are helping them to get a loan from the bank,” said Harimohan Kumar, block development officer (BDO), Gaunaha.

West Champaran district magistrate (DM) Kundan Kumar said the whole concept is aimed at turning migrant workers into entrepreneurs.

“A multi-pronged strategy was adopted ranging from micro-detailing of their skills to backward and forward linkage (raw material procurement and marketing for finished products), to making ‘udyami mitra mandal’ (a group of productive people) during their stay in quarantine itself,” said Kundan Kumar.

He added that senior officials have been engaged to help them set up their businesses and to open up new avenues for them as entrepreneurs as beneficiaries of Bihar government’s Nav Parivartan Yojna and bank loan scheme.

Meanwhile, a group of 30 entrepreneurs from Noida, Gandhinagar, Ludhiana and other places visited Bettiah recently.

The DM says they were apprised about the benefits they would receive from the district administration if they chose to outsource their work and source products from home grown units.

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