'From employee to employer': PM hails Bihar man for setting up LED bulb factory at home, hiring locals
Pramod Baitha, a worker in an LED bulb factory in Delhi, was left jobless due to COVID-induced lockdown. Here's how he took the circumstances in his stride and set a living example of self-reliance.
PATNA: Where there is a will, there is a way. This old adage has been the source of inspiration for a 36-year-old migrant worker from the West Champaran district of Bihar. Pramod Baitha was one of the lakhs of those unfortunate workers who were rendered jobless due to the coronavirus lockdown.
However, he took the difficult circumstances into his stride and thanks to his self-reliant achievements, got a special mention by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat'.
Born in Utimpandey village, Baitha studied up till Class8 and left for the national capital to eke out a livelihood over two decades back in 1998. In New Delhi, he got employed at a LED bulb manufacturing factory. "I continued working there till I rose to the ranks of a junior technician, learnt a lot and got paid anywhere between Rs 8000-Rs 12000," he told The New Indian Express.
However, COVID-19 brought him to his knees and he was left stranded for almost a month. Dejected as it is, Baitha returned home after the government started running special 'shramik trains' from New Delhi to Bihar.
“One day, I listened to Prime Minister Narendra Modi calling upon the people to be ‘vocal for local’. I made up my mind to start manufacturing local-made LED bulbs of 9 watts,” he recalled.
But starting a manufacturing unit was not a child's play. He somehow managed to arrange Rs 40000 and bought raw materials from Delhi. “I started manufacturing LED bulbs with my wife Sanju Devi and son Dhiraj Kumar, an intermediate student. Together we were able to manufacture 800 such bulbs," he said. The family of three started selling the bulbs at Rs 11 per piece.
As the demands grew, Baitha bought more raw material and engaged some local labourers after imparting them with formal training. He has now employed eight persons.
"In West Champaran district alone, there is a demand for 10000 LED bulbs. I am facing a fund crunch and that is why I have not been able to increase the quantity" he said.
Pinning his hopes on both PM Modi and CM Nitish Kumar for assistance, Baitha said that the words of encouragement and appreciation had made him more enthusiastic.
“From being a factory employee once to being an employer, I want to work hard in order to provide jobs to more locals."
He admits that through his small-scale venture, he is able to earn at least Rs 25000, which is more than what he used to get in Delhi.
At present, 800 to 1000 bulbs are rolled-out daily from Baitha’s unit and he wants to soon name them 'Vishal' bulbs.
"I urge PM Modi and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to help me out from the financial crunch to expand my unit," he said, adding that he still repairs old defunct LED bulbs.
“Now, we will never leave our state. We have decided to run our own business and employ our locals.
Coronavirus has made me an employer from being an employee," Baitha quips while heaping praise on CM Nitish that because of his efforts, the scope of LED bulb manufacturing and demands have increased in rural areas.