Bottles To Bangles! Heres What Dry State Bihar Is Doing With Lakhs Of Seized Liquor Bottles

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The Logical Indian Crew

Bottles To Bangles! Here's What Dry State Bihar Is Doing With Lakhs Of Seized Liquor Bottles

Since the liquor ban in 2016 in Bihar, many bottles of illegal liquor have been seized and were being treated as garbage. In a sustainable decision, the government will now employ rural residents to recycle bottles into bangles.

Bihar had banned the sale and consumption of alcohol since April 2016, following Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's electoral promise to women ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls. After the ban, the state saw a rise in illicit liquor and hooch tragedies, and almost every month, lakhs of liquor bottles were seized from various parts of the state. These bottles would then be treated as garbage and would be crushed with excavators or other heavy equipment.

However, a recent announcement under the Rural Livelihoods Promotion programme has considered the possibility of recycling these bottles and transforming them into other usable items. Alongside dealing with the number of glass bottle waste piling up in the state, such a move would also provide an employment opportunity for many rural residents.

Empowering Through JEEViKA

The Bihar Government has announced that the initiative to convert bottles into bangles will be adopted under the Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP), locally known as JEEViKA. Funded by the World Bank, the main objective of this program is poverty alleviation and socio-economic empowerment of rural women. It encompassed several Livelihoods Restoration and Enhancement components, such as the Bihar Kosi Flood Recovery Project (BKFRP), and the Bangles initiative is a new addition to the same.

The state will construct a factory in Patna and provide women with the necessary training to make glass bangles. A fund of one crore has been allocated by the State Excise and Prohibition department to set it up, and they would also be tasked to take the bottles to the factory site.

Further reports by the FirstPost, state that the government has agreed with a bangle manufacturing unit in Uttar Pradesh (UP), which would oversee the training sessions for women. The chief executive officer of the Livelihood Mission added that a team of women had already been sent to the unit.

Opposition's Accusations Of Vote Bank Politics

Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) Sanjay Jaiswal commented that the Chief Minister would permit liquor smuggling into the state to ensure a raw material supply into the factory. He was quoted saying, "Nitish Kumar and excise department will pass 9 out of 10 liquor consignments, and they will seize one consignment to get the raw materials for the bangles factory".

While many experts found the move to be innovative, they also specified how the government needs to take many other factors into consideration while setting up the factories. President of the Bihar chapter of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry questioned if the state would provide other materials such as soda and limestone that goes into glass bangle making. He also spoke of the viability of such an initiative, as there exists a possibility of running out of liquor bottles to make the bangles.

In the debates, there was a question about the competition JEEViKA workers would face with established glass bangle manufacturers, and it also raised the allegation that the move is an attempt by the Nitish Kumar-led government to gain the favour of women voters.

Also Read: This Journalist Left His Job To Make Rural Communities Digitally Literate, Empowers Vulnerable Tribes

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Writer : Laxmi Mohan Kumar
Editor : Snehadri Sarkar
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