Founder and Creative Director Anita Ahuja’s thoughts on successful 1150 days of Conserve India’s Bahadurgarh Factory

When I write this post, I am so very elated. Today on March 30’ 2014, we are celebrating 1150 successful days of Conserve India’s Factory at Footwear Park, Bahadurgarh, Haryana.

On this joyous occasion, I like to give you a flavor of the rough roads we traveled to reach wherever we are today. Have a sneak peak of my journal….

Year 2006
The Yamunapushta , the slum where we trained our rag pickers got demolished. All the rag pickers move to new location called “madan pur khadir”. We moved our project to madan pur khadir. We started our schools and training programs began. In simple words, we are very well established here.
There was a feeling that “madan pur khadir” is not permanent. A feeling that said this is just a temporary home. There was a very strong feeling that this slum would also get demolished very soon.
There were commonwealth games around. As time lapsed, we became inherent part of Delhi 2020 committee. All this gave a very strong impression that the rag pickers would be shunted out of the city. And also, in the next few years all slums in Delhi would be demolished.

Year 2009
Unfortunately whatever we expected happened. We tracked our rag pickers who had been picked up in trucks and left outside west Delhi in an area called Bahadurgarh, Haryana.
They settled in cardboard settlement with no electricity, toilets, school etc. There was no garbage to pick because the industries as well as residential houses were yet to emerge. After all, Poor villages hardly generate any waste. Only we urbanites create all of them.
Their life was expecting a light so as their houses without electricity.

What now?

We realized the need for Conserve India there. A potential that can pave way for much needed sunshine, a ray of hope!!
We were adamant that this time it need to something big and concrete.The answer was – A new factory which could be audited and was standards compliant.
So we bought a piece of land in the footwear park being built by Haryana Industrial Development Corporation. The exorbitant land and building cost made us take a loan from a commercial bank.

Year 2009 – 2011

Lots of hard work, sacrifice and courage to give life to our vision!!!!!

Year 2011

Conserve India factory / manufacturing unit was established on 04 February 2011 at footwear park, Bahadurgarh, Haryana

Year 2011 – Year 2014

The footwear park has capacity of 1700 factories. All major shoe brands have their factory in this park .The factories needed labor. Unfortunately, there were lot of problems in Gurgaon and Manesar industrial belts because the slum dwellers and the villagers are not given any jobs in these factories The reason being they are unemployable. The factory owner does not have time to train labor. The owners preferred trained labor so they make bus arrangements and labor is brought from outside. This leads to lot of frustration among the local people because when they saw these high rise factories coming up and they envisioned that they will get good jobs. Unfortunately the jobs were given to outsiders. All this lead to unrest!

Conserve India factory solved the tension to greater extent as our working model emphasized training people before employing them in our factory. Conserve India in collaboration with the local govt aims to train many groups in future. Its large factory makes it quite ideal for the training.
We have also established a much needed school in the slum in the year 2012.

Also on this joyous occasion of  successful 1150 days, I look forward to welcome you to our Factory……………

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