Friday, September 9, 2011

Bhandara veg merchant's rags-to-riches story

BHANDARA: It can be termed as another rags-to-riches story in which a rickshaw- puller has become a multimillionaire and rules the vegetable market in the town.

Bandu Barapatre started as a rickshaw-puller, shifted to retail vegetable business with a capital of just Rs 150 which now exceeds Rs six crore. With an average daily turnover of more than Rs 5 lakh, 37-year-old Barapatre is mild-mannered, workaholic and feels for the poor of the society.

Bandu Barapatre started as a rickshaw-puller, shifted to retail vegetable business with a capital of just Rs 150 which now exceeds Rs six crore. With an average daily turnover of more than Rs 5 lakh, 37-year-old Barapatre is mild-mannered, workaholic and feels for the poor of the society.

"I grew up in Bhandara in extreme poverty. My family had nine members. My father was a labourer in the vegetable market and it was impossible for him to sustain such a large family on his meagre earnings," he recalls.

"I grew up in Bhandara in extreme poverty. My family had nine members. My father was a labourer in the vegetable market and it was impossible for him to sustain such a large family on his meagre earnings," he recalls.

Hence, after Bandu passed standard four from Namrata Primary School, he went to Palandur with his maternal uncle for further education. After passing standard six, he came back to Bhandara as he could not continue his studies.

Hence, after Bandu passed standard four from Namrata Primary School, he went to Palandur with his maternal uncle for further education. After passing standard six, he came back to Bhandara as he could not continue his studies.

While his family was struggling with only one meal a day, Bandu, then a 14-year-old, thought of earning money to sustain his family. He became a rickshaw-puller, earning Rs 90 a month.

While his family was struggling with only one meal a day, Bandu, then a 14-year-old, thought of earning money to sustain his family. He became a rickshaw-puller, earning Rs 90 a month.

"One day, when I went to the market, I saw a vegetable merchant slap my father. I was helpless as a poor kid at that time. But that incident led me to become a vegetable merchant in the same market," says Bandu.

"One day, when I went to the market, I saw a vegetable merchant slap my father. I was helpless as a poor kid at that time. But that incident led me to become a vegetable merchant in the same market," says Bandu.

He sold his rickshaw for Rs 150 and started selling vegetables in retail. He started earning sizeable amount as he purchased vegetables from the Nagpur wholesale market. He used to go to the city market daily at 3am and dispatch his stock to Bhandara by truck. His friend, Liladhar, who owned trucks, helped him by transporting his load for Rs 60, earning him a profit of Rs 50 for his return trip.

He sold his rickshaw for Rs 150 and started selling vegetables in retail. He started earning sizeable amount as he purchased vegetables from the Nagpur wholesale market. He used to go to the city market daily at 3am and dispatch his stock to Bhandara by truck. His friend, Liladhar, who owned trucks, helped him by transporting his load for Rs 60, earning him a profit of Rs 50 for his return trip.

Within a few months, he opened his own vegetable shop in Chhota Bazar. While other merchants went to the city market for stocks only on Sundays and Wednesdays, Bandu went to the city everyday.

Within a few months, he opened his own vegetable shop in Chhota Bazar. While other merchants went to the city market for stocks only on Sundays and Wednesdays, Bandu went to the city everyday.

During this time, he learnt the trick of the trade, purchasing tomatoes from Mirzapur (UP), Narayangaon (Pune), Bengaluru and Madanpalli, brinjal from Anjangaon and cauliflower from Belgaum.

During this time, he learnt the trick of the trade, purchasing tomatoes from Mirzapur (UP), Narayangaon (Pune), Bengaluru and Madanpalli, brinjal from Anjangaon and cauliflower from Belgaum.

Now, he sells three trucks of tomato in Bhandara, one truck in Seoni (MP), two trucks in Chhindwara, five to six trucks in Jabalpur, Salwa and Bharra (UP) daily, with an average sale of Rs 5 lakh per day during monsoon and Rs 2-3 lakh during other seasons. With an annual turnover of Rs 9-10 crore, Barapatre now owns six trucks and has 18 employees working at his firm named BTB.

His family now has 13 members with his brothers also working in his firm.

A staunch devotee of Lord Hanuman, Bandu spends lakhs of rupees on 'mahaprasad' in Hanuman temple every year. He also purchases and sends cows to his farm whenever he finds them being taken to a slaughter house.

"My only concern is for the local youth. They don't seem ready to work especially manual labour. It earns them Rs 8000-9000 daily, but they are not interested. I am now employing labourers from MP as the locals are not ready to help," he rued.

Source: timesofindia.com

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