There have been numerous rag to riches stories that you may have heard over the years and you may have even taken inspiration from some of them. One such is the story of Jaiprakash Chaudhary. He had come to Delhi from Munger in Bihar almost two decades back. During that time, he could earn not more than Rs 150 a day by sifting through garbage for recyclables. The eventual payoff was even beyond his dreams. Now, Chaudhary sells items retrieved from garbage worth Rs 11 lakh and also employs about 160 staff in his two waste segregation centres in the national capital, Times of India report said.
He had started off as a helper to a fruit seller for Rs 20 and then also worked as a labourer. Now, the man who has become a poster boy for ragpickers has delivered lectures around the globe including in Luxembourg, Copenghagen and Brazil on waste and recycling. In 1994, Chaudhary had moved around Connaught Place in the national capital with a sack on his back collecting waste he could resell. After a month, he went back to Munger not being able to tolerate discrimination he was facing. He returned two months later feeling that discrimination is at least better than poverty, the report said.
Two years later, he purchased a shop in the national capital, where he used to purchase dry waste from garbage collectors and resold those items. However, the turning point of his life came in 1999, when he formed a forum for ragpickers calling it Safai Sena, with the help of an NGO Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group.
Chaudhary had to shift from Raja Bajaar to Kotla in 2000 as his waste store house was removed due to various reasons, especially because of the nature of his work. He was again displaced from Bhopura and then Mahipalpur.
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In 2012, the man established his waste segregation centre in Ghaziabad’s Sikandarpur area. Later he also set up another centre near New Delhi Railway Station where he has employed 160 staff, Times of India report said.