Liquor is known to have tempted thousands of poor people into abusing it and eventually destroying their own family and home but, in a kind of paradox, the discarded empty liquor bottles have helped in lighting hearths at least in tens of homes. Yes, some poor people depend on collecting discarded liquor bottles as a means of livelihood which involves selling it to the local scrap dealer, who in turn sells it to breweries and distilleries which bring the bottles back into circulation.
Almost every mandal head quarter village has a few individuals who earn their living in this manner. The daily income for such individuals ranges between ₹200 and ₹500 every day, depending of course, upon the quantum of liquor consumption by local tipplers in a given area.
The activity also sheds light on the changing trend in consumption of liquor in that people are preferring gulping down alcohol in the open, often when riding a bike. This has them discarding the bottles by the side of the road which makes the task of the bottle collectors that much easy.
“We collect about 5,000 empty bottles of beer and whisky every day,” revealed Paithri Raju, a bottle collector from Utnoor mandal head quarter in Adilabad district.
"We sell it to the local scrap dealer at the rate of Re. 1.20 per bottle of beer and 50 paise for empty nips and pints of the harder stuff," he added.
Raju and his brother Sai Kumar hire an auto trolley and go on a bottle collection drive early in the morning starting at Utnoor and move towards Indervelli on one direction and Birsaipet on the other. The duo said the lockdown period was a difficult one and the current unlocking has put them back on course what with liquor consumption resuming.
Kadari Sridhar, a scrap dealer from the same town sells the empty beer bottles at Rs. 1.50 each. "I send these bottles to places in Hyderabad where companies sanitise the bottles for reuse," he pointed out.