Berhampur, October 3 (LocalWire): His mobile phone has been constantly ringing since the ban on plastic bags was imposed in the Silk City, and businessmen in Berhampur, the biggest commercial hub of the southern Odisha, calling Prabhat Sahu to order paper bags.
Sahu of Haladiapadara in the outskirt of Silk City owns a cottage industry and has been manufacturing paper bags for the last one decade.
Before the ban on the use of plastic, Sahu used to visit the businessmen to convince them of the benefits of using paper bags, but the ban has come as a boon for Sahu and few others who manufacture paper and cloth bags.
The demand for paper and cotton bags has increased manyfold in the Silk City after the Berhampur Municipal Corporation (BeMC) started a crackdown on the stock of plastic and polythene bags, beginning of November last year
“I could not meet the demand of paper bags in the market after the ban of plastic,” Sahu said, adding that while earlier he used to supply an average of 500 to 600 kg of paper bags, he now supplies around 900-kg paper bags per month.
The high demand has also increased the rate of the paper bags from Rs 20 to 30 per kg to Rs 40 to 50 depending on the sizes, he said.
The increase in demand has also prompted several entrepreneurs, including the women self-help groups (SHG) to start manufacturing paper and cotton bags and the BeMC has also provided training to several of them while arranging for their bank loans.
“By working around four hours daily, we (10 member group) now earn about Rs 1,000 daily by selling paper bags,” Jyotormaye SHG Martha Sahi president Geetanjali Mohanty said.
According to Sumitra Sahu, president of Santoshi SHG that supplies cotton bags to the market the demand is too high for them to meet.
“Around 1,000 women in the city, all members of different SHGs are engaged in making paper and cotton bags, leaf-plates and paper plates during their leisure hours and earn money,” BeMC nodal community organiser Geetanjaili Samantra informed.
The ban on plastic has provided the alternative livelihood to several women, said BeMC commissioner Chakravarti Singh Rathore.
BeMC has decided to penalise the people, including shop owners for use or stock of banned plastic and polythene despite warning notice issued to them, he said.