VFS microfinance borrower with plastics machine

Debika Adak

From plastic streamers to toy cars, her range is growing

When Debika Adak got married 14 years ago, she was just out of her teens, armed with a Class 10 school certificate. She began helping her husband Arup with his tiny plastics manufacturing unit in Pancharul, West Bengal.

The business was then just a year old and Arup had started it without loans. Debika felt the need for some machinery. She sold and pawned some of her gold jewellery to buy a semi-automatic machine for Rs 1.80 lakh. Their business grew.

Children followed: a son, who is now 12 and studying in Class 7, and a daughter, now five years old. Around five years ago, Debika saw that distributors were placing bigger orders but they did not always have money to buy raw materials. She heard about Village Financial Services and took a small loan so that they could buy plastic granules weekly instead of monthly.

Arup, 41, fetches the sackloads of plastic powder and granules from Burrabazar in Kolkata, around 50km from Pancharul, which is in Howrah district’s Udayanarayanpur block. Each week, he brings around 600-700 kg of the stuff by small trucks.

Today, Debika, 35, has a total outstanding loan of Rs 90,000 and is regular with her repayments. She says she earns an average net profit of Rs 17,000 a month.

They make plastic fittings, plastic wrappers, streamers and decorations used for ceremonies and parties, jewellery boxes for a major jeweller, window rollers and plastic toy cars. Distributors place orders and pay in cash so they don’t have to go around trying to sell their products.

Debika says demand peaks during the wedding and festival seasons. The COVID19 lockdowns that began last year were bad for business as there were no festivals or weddings. Although they are a “manufacturing” unit, they do not have any workers.

Published on Dec 3, 2021 | Updated on Apr 13, 2022