Scrap material trading is not junk anymore
Over twenty years of experience in the field, government registration, computerised accounts and even 24-hour CCTV surveillance; if you think this is a new-generation financial enterprise, think again, this is the new face of the age-old field of scrap material trading.
“We are wholesale dealers of scrap material. Local scrap material collectors who collect from door-to-door will sell it to a small shop in their area, these shops will segregate the material and sell it to us and in turn, we sell it to manufacturing companies;,” says Siraj, owner and dealer of scrap material in the city. There are small shops in every nook and corner that are raking in the moolah through the scrap business.
“We moved our scrap paper collection to the next building as we have to keep it dry. At present we only have 12 workers for the entire process. They are mainly from north India but they have been working here for almost ten years. We provide them with accommodation and other basic facilities. Almost all of them are paid Rs 500 per day,” Siraj said.
“Our sources are mainly smaller shops in and around the city, but we do take material from as far as Thrissur and Alappuzha. Scrap metal goes to Kanjikode in Palakkad to be recycled into iron and steel rods. Scrap paper which used to go be taken to Sivakasi and other parts of Tamil Nadu for making crackers, now goes to Idayar and Kanjirappalli, to be recycled into new paper,” says Shyamala who supervises the categorising of scrap material at Siraj’s firm. “Sound pollution is the only problem for the neighbors as there is a lot of hammering going on. But now, we stop our work by 6 pm, which has made it easier,” she added. “On the whole the business is low, mainly because there are too many people in the industry and most of them run the business on their own now. We used to send at least one load a day, now we only send two or three loads a week.,” says Sijo, who is in-charge of the day-to-day operations.
Ten years ago, sales tax violation was a common practice in the industry. But now it is not even imaginable. “We have to face a lot of hassles, and there seems to be constant scrutiny. Even if it is a small clerical error in the bill, we have to pay a hefty fine,” he rues.
“There is tight competition now, as most companies auction the scrap material through online tender notices. Big players are stepping in as middlemen and this is a big industry now,” says Sabu who has been in the field for over 20 years.