By Faiz Askari, Founder of SMEStreet
The glassware manufacturing in India is a traditional business. One of the major clusters of this industry is Firozabad which is considered as a flagship location for glassware manufacturing since ages.
Firozabad has more than six thousand smaller units that are associated with the glassware manufacturing. However, as per the official data 400 glassware manufacturing units are registered. Majority of these small manufacturing units are fallen into the unorganized sector and a major portion of them are operating as home-based setups.
The job work around which these major glassware manufacturing is happening revolves are bangle making, bangles finishing, glass moldings, packaging and product transportation. Putting an estimated rough figure, this entire region employs more than 25 thousand households.
Apart from men and women, this sector having unorganized in nature also welcomes children as it’s workforce.
Due to these hardworking labors of glassware industry, the city of Firozabad is referred as “Glass City of India”. Some unique products of this cluster are beautiful bangles, crafts, tableware and other exquisite items made of glass, which are popular throughout India and as well abroad.
History of Glassware Manufacturing in Firozabad
The glassware industry in Firozabad is categorized as an old economic activity of the locals here and has been there from the time of the Mughal Empire. In olden days, many international travelers brought glass items to this city. When these were rejected and disposed of, the items were collected and melted in a locally manufactured furnace known as “Bhainsa Bhatti”. This was the beginning of the glass industry in Firozabad. The rejected items were melted to create bangles and small bottles. With time, phials for scents, cosmetic products, and other items also began to be manufactured and even exported. A large number of bangles, kadas and kangans began to be made for suhagins (married women). Since 1989, various colors and shades are being used for creating chandeliers and other glass products. At present, around 400 glass industries are registered in this city.
Environmental & Health Concerns
Being a fact that this industry is power intensive industry and mostly furnaces used in this industry came from the conventional methods, this becomes a matter of concern from environmental hazards.
So the government is doing its work in the direction of controlling the negative impact of heat and pollution generated in the manufacturing of these products. Apart from this, health issues with the workers of this trade are also a matter of concern. Now, there are awareness workshops and incentive programs are getting run to empower the local youth who is involved in this domain to understand the criticality of health hygiene of the workforce. This becomes a challenge in tapping the unorganized sector.
Having said this, there must be a robust plan which could be incentive driven as well as accommodative in nature which can bring the unstructured small manufacturing units into a structured one. The cluster driven approach in Firozabad can absolutely transform the lives of locals who are producing such a valued product portfolio.