Bihar's Brass industry faces challenge to its survival

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Parev (Bihar), Jan 10 (ANI): Brass industry, which offers livelihood to thousands of rural families in Bihar, is facing difficulty to survive today and forcing most of the people involved in it to migrate elsewhere in the country.

In the absence of state support and proper infrastructure, the units producing wide range of brass items are in the doldrums.

A couple of these units are located in the rural areas of Patna district and shortage of electricity has badly hit the production.

Parev is one such town near Patna. It once boasted of at least 15,000 skilled and unskilled workers engaged in the brass industry for generations.

However, today Parev is literally starved of competent workers since they have migrated from here.

"People have started migrating, en masse. Reportedly, in Nepal a manufacturing unit, spread over 100 to 150 acres has come up. Men who went to Nepal from Patna have achieved that. Those are highly skilled men who control the unskilled men over there," said Parev Brass Industry Association President Jeevan Kumar.

"Around 25 skilled men have migrated from this place, because they had to survive. There they control the units. Not less than 250 unskilled and semi skilled labours are working under them. They are proving to be an asset to Nepal instead of Bihar," he added.

The restricted power supply of just two hours per day has made almost all the units in Parev to close down.

"We don't work with hands anymore, we need power supply. We are just not able to procure electricity for the factory. It has been reduced to 10 percent of what it was earlier. As a result men are migrating to Moradabad, Delhi, even Nepal. 75 percent of the men are gone," said Umesh Prasad, a worker at a brass unit

"People who chose to stay are struggling for survival. It is because of the want of electricity, if we could somehow get power supply we could sustain our families somehow," he added.

Earlier, brass products from Bihar were sent to different parts of India.

A brass factory owner also mentioned that despite all the constraints, the total production in Bihar was worth 100 million rupees.

But for erratic power supply, the units in Parev are equipped to produce a wide range of products like utensils in brass as well as nickel (German silver) coated and bronze items.

At several places in Bihar, the brass foundries functioned like cottage industry providing self-employment to hundreds of families. By Ajay Kumar (ANI)

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