Even Nitish Didn’t Open Bihar Factories Closed During Lalu’s Era

From sugar to paper mills, several factories in Bihar are closed since 1997.

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Video editor: Deepthi Ramdas
Video Producer: Devika Shah

Bihar has been witnessing an industrial lockdown for over two decades now. From sugar to paper mills, several factories have been closed since 1997. This period saw change of many governments, yet these factories remain shut and the workers are still waiting for their salaries.

Bihar tops in inter-state migration (after Uttar Pradesh), and these closed factories are seen as one of the major reasons. The Quint went to find traces of these closed factories in Bihar and struck a conversation with the people there, on how the ‘Industrial Lockdown’ has affected their lives.

The Lohat sugar mill in Madhubani has been closed since 1997. It has turned into a forest now. Machines are dilapidated and nearly 23 years have passed but only false promises have been made.
“In 1997, when Lalu Prasad Yadav was the CM, the (Lohat) mill was running with huge losses. So, he asked to close all the sugar mills. All the sugar mills have been shut since 1997.”
Moti Rehman, ex-worker, Lohat Sugar Mill

He added that there are around 1200-1300 workers whose money is due. The condition of the sugar mill in Samastipur is no different. Sugar from this mill was last produced in 1997.

“No one belongs to the age, where they can take up any other job. The labourers here have to run a cart or pull rickshaws to feed their families.”
Nageshwar Kumar, ex-mill worker, Samastipur

Thakur paper mill of Jitwarpur was also shut down in 1997. It gave employment to more than 1,000 people but none of the governments ever tried to reopen it and people were forced to migrate to other states like Punjab and Delhi.

Will the Bihar elections 2020 change the fate of the unemployed industrial workers, or are they going to drown just like these closed industries?

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