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Start-up by Gangtok lad for futuristic waste management solution

Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 14:15 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Jun 28, 2020 08:39 [IST]

Start-up by Gangtok lad for futuristic waste management solution

ISABELLA GURUNG
GANGTOK: ‘Voyage’, a social enterprise founded by Gangtok-lad Pritam Pany is committed towards a Zero-Waste Himalaya and is a turnkey waste management solution provider for institutions and individuals.
Voyage is among the six start-up ventures from Sikkim to be selected to receive seed grant of Rs. 5 lakh each (with no EMI, no equity or share dilution) at NERES 1.0, an entrepreneurship summit aimed at offering a platform to promising start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs across the North Eastern region.
“It feels good to be among the six start-ups to receive the seed grant. When it comes to waste management, our idea was a bit futuristic. There is an actual need for waste management and it has been more than two years that we are trying to convince people. There was a validation that our idea is doable and people had faith in us, and so we won the competition as well,” saidPritam.
With the cash infusion boost from NERES, Pritam plans to strengthen the backend tech and achieve a goal of managing 700 tons of solid waste per annum in the next 18 months. He also plans on investing in a garbage collection van.
The 29-year-old hails from Metro Point, Tadong in Gangtok. A graduate from IIT-Roorkee, trained in sustainability and compliance, his focus is on research and implementation at the grassroots level. Voyage was established in 2018, with the aim to bridge the gap between policy and implementation.
Pritam and his team are working in partnership with S3IDF, a US based sustainable infrastructure fund towards building technological and financial capacity for their goals.
“Voyage is not an overnight idea and has been going on for the past five years. Five years ago, I quit my corporate job and got into waste management. Earlier I was in Rajasthan and Bangalore before I came back to Gangtok. Voyage is an evolution of ideas over time. Voyage is a social enterprise working in the sphere of zero waste. We aim at achieving it by using the principles of ‘circular economy for resources’ and ‘dignity of labour’. We work with institutions and businesses, providing turnkey waste management solutions, geared towards development of sustainable & smart cities. Our work is a grassroot level implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals blueprint, to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030,” shared Pritam.
Company-wise, Voyage has a product line revolving around environment friendly options like bamboo, recycled paper bags and notebooks, compostable nursery and garbage bags, creating sustainable livelihood and revenue.
A lot of the work depends on the society, clean-up, awareness, ration distribution and medical camp. We have previously worked with the informal sector or ‘ragpickers’ at 32 Number Landfill, providing annual medical and vaccination camps since 2018, has previously worked with Gangtok Military Station, it was informed.
Voyage’s structure and work with NB Bhandari Degree College, Tadong was recognized in the Coca Cola Sustainable Enterprise Award 2018 as a finalist. A working prototype of recycled thermocol wall insulation received second prize at Climate Launchpad, 2019.
The objectives of Voyage are to enable Socio-Economic transformation by creating formal job creators (Micro – Entrepreneur) and job seekers, thereby uplifting the informal sector and achieving the goal of Zero Waste. They have a hybrid business model to enable holistic sustainable development.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi