It has been found that quite a few self-help groups (SHGs) that received funds to start a paper bags manufacturing business are non-functional. Enquiries made with SHGs in the city about the utilisation of funds revealed that some of the SHGs were had stopped making paper bags as they were not getting enough orders. Still other SHGs said they did not work on the paper bag project regularly.
A member of one of the SHGs on Paud Road that received a subsidy of Rs 10,000 said, “We work very rarely on the project as we get very less returns from this business. We started this business with a mere Rs 2,000 and we produced bags as per the orders. But soon we stopped receiving orders and it’s rare that we make bags now.”
Another SHG, at Gujarat Colony, is no more functional, thanks to lack of orders. An SHG in Erandwane was seen running the business properly. The business, this reporter was told, has an investment of a few thousand rupees, but a higher amount was mentioned in the form submitted to the PMC. The SHG quoted close to Rs 1 lakh as its investment.
“The same SHG had stated in March 2011 and got Rs 25,000 sanctioned as subsidy. The form also has a note of rejection but PMC had billed the application,” said Surendra Shroff, chairman, environment, Rotary Club of Pune Central, and a resident of Deccan, who also supplied documents on irregularities in the project run by the Nagarvasti Vikas Yojana Department.
Another 10 SHGs had demanded around Rs 1 lakh for machinery and material to start their business for paper bag project. According to these SHGs, a maximum of Rs 15,000 is required to start the business.
Members of the SHGs said the business can be started with just Rs 500 if scrap paper is used, and a maximum of Rs 5,000 if handmade paper is used.