Andhra Pradesh Business

Chinese onslaught takes the sheen off Papanaidupet glass beads

TIRUPATI: The traditional glass beads manufacturing units of Papanaidupet village in Chittoor district are finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat amid stiff competition from Chinese beads flooding the market. The glass beads are used in making bangles and artificial jewellery. The beads are generally exported to Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata.

The number of manufacturing units in Papanaidupet has come down from 54 to less than 10 as several units have been wound up unable to face the stiff competition from Chinese beads. Consequently, the livelihood of several villagers has been affected.

Speaking to reports, Shaik Babu (69), who owns a bead manufacturing unit, said, “We make beads of different shapes and sizes. Glass stone used for making beads is procured from Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh. At least eight workers need to be employed to manufacture beads, which go through several processes to get the end product. The workers are paid up to Rs 1,000 a day depending on the volume of work. Workers who do less volume of work, get Rs 500 a day as wages. We get Rs 2,500 per bag of the end product.”With Chinese beads flooding the market, which come at a low price, the demand for glass beads of Papanaidupet has slumped, resulting in closure of several units.

Bleak prospects force many to work as daily wagers

The number of work orders has come down as only a small group of traders still prefers glass beads to Chinese ones despite the cost factor. “Now, we are manufacturing glass beads only after getting orders, which are hard to come,” he lamented.

“With no work, several villagers engaged in manufacturing glass beads, have started working in nearby factories to eke out a living. Others have become construction workers for their survival. Youngsters of the village have started showing reluctance to learn the age old art of making glass beads due to bleak prospects to the cottage industry,” rued owner of another unit. “With whatever orders we get, we run the units with the old craftsmen to continue the tradition of Papanaidupet,’’ he said, hoping for revival of their fortunes.