Did is Hands on Masks & Sanitizer Production – Palamu District, Jharkhand

About Palamu District

Palamu District is one of the most Naxal Affected District in Jharkhand state. Palamu district is situated in north west of Jharkhand and shared its geographical boundaries with Aurangabad District in Bihar. It has dominant population of tribal and has 21 Administrative blocks and 276 GPs. There are North Koel River that flow across the District. Due to severely Naxal affected, Palamu district is directly monitored by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and received special fund under the Special Central Assistance (SCA), 33Cr. per year for the development activities in the Naxal affected zone.

Transformation of Aspirational District Program (TADP) is launched by NITI Aayog on 2018 and monitored the progress of every of 49 indicators across the six thematic areas. Palamu district is one of Aspirational District and have initiated number of Innovative projects to cater quality services to the last mile of beneficiaries of the Palamu.

Carving Skills: Koel Aajeevika Apparel Park

Under the Aspirational District Program, we (ADFs) have proposed a project for skill development and livelihood generation for the local people in Palamu itself with the consultation of Dr. Shantanu Agrahari, IAS., Deputy Commissioner, Palamu. We have set up Industrial Sewing Machine with 200 Capacity i.e. called as “Koel Aajeevika Apparel Park” through Special Central Assistance (SCA) Fund. It is being operationalised by Women SHG (DIDIs) Federation under the supervision of Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society (JSLPS). Later on, SHG Federation has registered as Cooperative Koel Aajeevika Apparel Park, Palamu. These SHG women have been trained to run the sewing machine and producing school’s dress for the government schools. We have facilitated with Education Department and established a convergence with them as result SHGs women received an order to produce schools dress for boys and girls at locally in large scale. It is inaugurated by Former Chief Minister, Jharkhand in 30th September, 2019. Initial two months, they have trained again on High-Tech Industrial Machine. There are fully automatic stitching, over lock machines set up, moreover high quality imported embroidery machine are available in this facilities. To run this facility with full capacity we have also hired fashion designer and Master Trainers to provide technical assistance. Since last three months they have approximately produced 10,000 school dresses. The profit is shared among the SHG Member of the cooperative however they need initial Capital Back Up. District Administration also liaison with SBI Bank to provide Term Loan up to INR 1,000,000 to procure raw material.

Resource Utilization: Mask Production

During the COVID 19 Pandemic, initially, government issued an advisory for preventive action for the people in which social distancing was extremely important. In addition to it, it is being advice to the people for the uses of Mask and Sanitizer on daily basis. It has created a huge short fall of Masks and Sanitizer in the market, thus, a sudden surge in price, black marketing got started across the country.

With a proactive approach, Koel Aajeevika Apparel Park, Palamu has been utilised during COVID Pandemic for the Mask production after a successful training in the very short span of time. However, we faced number of challenges to motivate these women for mask production in such a critical situation. Initially out of 200 unit only 30 Machine was function. These women were scared and not willing to come out to work in Production Centre due to risk associated to get infected by Corona Virus. However, we have ensured their safety and logistic regarding travelling between their home to the Production Unit and proper distance maintained and sanitization in the Production Unit, help to regain their confidence and motivated to support the district administration for Masks Production in such a critical time.

Overcome the Challenges

As of Now, 60 Machines are functional and total Number of masks production is more than 50,000. However, we have fulfilled the demand of Palamu district initially which is distributed approx. 48,044 across the 21 blocks. These Masks goes to the Health Department after stitching for sanitization to make it ready to use. This is three layers of clothing. It is not one time use and throw stuff. It can be also reused by the users after proper cleaning in regular basis. These SHGs group women sells the Masks in 20 rupees per unit as per government rate however they earn 5 rupees per mask for stitching only and they produce almost 30-40 masks per day. However the Production cost lies between 11-12 rupees per mask. JSLPS has procured raw material from the market. Though, investment has been made by Women Cooperative only. We grasp the opportunity of this Unit facility, and turn into Masks Production Centre. It shows our pro-activeness and commitment in pandemic situation. We have filled the demand of Masks in critical time and not allow to spread threat across the district and stop black marketing in Palamu as we supplied sufficiently.

Innovative Solution: Sanitizer Production

Apart from this, we have also demonstrated the sanitizer production formula as per WHO norms, while mixing in a certain ratio of Isopropyl alcohol, Hydrogen peroxide and Glycerol. Before the Fellowship program I have associated with start-up of hand Sanitizer production, I have a sense and available multiple formulas to prepare Hand-Sanitizer, Hence I pitched this idea of Hand-Sanitizer production to Deputy Commissioner, Palamu before the Lockdown. As lockdown came into place, a sudden increase in demand of Hand-Sanitizer was stimulated black marketing and it was available in market very high price. While reading the situation of current scenario, we have also trained quickly to a SHG group of 20 Women, mixing process for Hand-Sanitizer production and started bottling in 100ml. It is distributed in across the 21 blocks of 276 GPs. Both, Hand-Sanitizer and Masks have been provided to the people on the government standard rate only. Hand Sanitizer is given to Health Department on INR 30/unit (100ml). Till date, women has made 15,430 bottle of 100 ml and given to health department Palamu only. The chemicals are supplied by Health Department only on the basis of requirement of production on weekly basis. These women save 5 rupees per bottle while making hand sanitizer. Demand is getting escalate on day to day basis. We have demand from other state as well. In the couple of weeks, we have also in a situation to supply in nearer districts. A Pro-activeness approach helps us to fight with critical situation and avoid the people of Palamu from Panic situation. The effort has been acknowledged by State and NITI Aayog in their Tweet, as well.

Photographs – Masks & Sanitizer Production in Palamu District