They eke out living brick by brick

Gonibeedu is a household name not only in Mudigere but also at Belur, Sakleshpur. Thanks to the brick manufacturers in the village. The bricks from this village are used in all the new houses.

About 10 families in Gonibeedu are specialists in their field and the entire family works together for their livelihood. They die cast clay into bricks, bake them and then leave them for drying in a neatly arranged piles in their field.

The families have been providing employment to over 100 labourers. The families work from September to February for baking bricks every year.

For the durability of the bricks, different varieties of soil have to be thoroughly mixed with water. The bricks are made from moulds.

 The owners collect soil from various places for preparing bricks. As the monsoon recedes, the labourers from North Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh arrive here to prepare bricks. The wet bricks are left to dry in the sun until they become hard enough to be baked.Then they arrange them into neat piles for air drying.

A brick is sold for Rs 5 at Gonibeedu. Labourers get Re 1 for a brick, about Rs 3 is spent on baking, drying and for soil. The owner gets about 50 paise to Re 1 from one brick. “If the bricks are not sold, then we will incur loss,” said Dilsan. 

“In the past, the labour cost was less. Hence, the brick unit owners were fetching profit. Now, the wages have been doubled. There is shortage of labourers as well as fire wood in Malnad. We have to purchase soil. We are struggling to eke out living,” said Prasanna. ‘Jimmittige’ from Mangalore and Table bricks from Chikmagalur are attracting the consumers.

Mason Annappanna said the brick owners should give priority to the quality. They should come out with new varieties of bricks to attract the customers.

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