Mehsi (Bihar): The Bihar government plans to revive the oyster shell button industry, once the rage in French fashion, at Mehsi about 48 km east of Motihari in East Champaran district.
The industry owed its origin to an enterprising sub-inspector of schools, Bhulawan Lal, an inhabitant of Mehsi who began handcrafting the buttons from oysters found in the river Sikrahna in 1905, but they lacked finish.    

Three years later, the first oystershell button factory, 'Tirhut Moon Button Factory' with machinery imported from Japan, was set up at an investment of Rs 1000.
The factory flourished and huge profits facilitated establishment of many more factories at Mehsi, government records said.
Till the World War I the industry at Mehsi had to face competition from buttons made in Japan, a variety which became scarce during the war years.
But by World War II, the demand for buttons produced at Mehsi shot up in India and abroad with 160 factories spread over 13 panchayats manufacturing them as a cottage industry employing 10,000 persons.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar visited Mehsi a few days ago and promised that his government would give full financial and technical support to revive the world-famous industry. He directed that entrepreneurs in 500 units be helped to form clusters and federations of self help groups so that financial and technical help could quickly reach for revival of the industry's glorious past.
Equipment for high quality drilling, polishing and laser equipment would also be provided, he said.