Saturday, Oct 25, 2014

Akhilesh Yadav hardsells Uttar Pradesh, forgets a Dalit entrepreneurial success story

Written by Subhomoy Bhattacharjee | New Delhi | Posted: June 12, 2014 3:38 am

Chandan Industries, a small scale unit in Uttar Pradesh has supplied its first consignment of industrial safety helmets to Tata Motors.  There are several larger units which manufacture such helmets and some of them also supply to the Tata Group. But Chandan Industries is a bit different. It is owned by NK Chandan, a dalit entrepreneur.

His consignment was “flagged off” by Milind Kamble, the chairman of the Dalit Industrial Chamber of Commerce and Industry. But on a day, when the Uttar Pradesh state government announced an Investors’ Conclave this piece of news did not figure in its discussions with the media or otherwise.

Chief secretary Alok Ranjan instead said he expected investments of about Rs 25,000 crore will be roped in through the conclave despite reports of poor law and order situation. “We have made the district magistrates and superintendents of police accountable for any untoward event in their respective districts. From my own experience I can tell you that if district officials do their bit, then the situation would never be adverse”.

The state has been in turmoil with reports of gang rape and brutal murder of two Dalit girls in Badaun district of the state. Badaun is incidentally in the same region of Western UP from where Chandan’s unit operates in Tronica City, near Ghaziabad.

In a release he noted that “The requirement (from Tata Motors) is for 10,000 safety helmets. We will dispatch the  second lot of 1250 safety helmets next week”.  He also said in anticipation of future supplies Tata Chemicals, Tata Power and Tata Voltas have opened Vendor Codes for his company.

The consignment  has not been picked up by Tata Motors on a preferential basis. Industrial helmets perform a vital role as safety gear for workers in assembly lines and so the quality has to be maintained.

The entrepreneur told The Indian Express he could keep his costs low as he doubles up as the sole marketing arm of his firm. This cuts cost as the production cost of each helmet is the same as his rivals. “Our helmets carry ISI specifications and are stamped”, he said. The cost quoted by the rivals are understood to be close to Rs 140 per helmet, where Chandan quoted Rs 117 for them.

The unit now has 14 employees on its rolls and takes on another 10 on contract basis, he said. This workforce will be enough to produce the total size of the award. Chandan is not an invitee to the Investment Conclave. He does not even know about it.  But the state government expects about large companies will drop in tomorrow to meet the chief minister Akhilesh Yadav who will be hard selling his states’ investment credentials.

Among others, envoys of Canada, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, Czech Republic, Turkey and Netherlands are also expected to attend the conclave. Besides industry bodies like American Chambers of Commerce in India, Taiwan, Indo-Italian chambers and Confederation of Indian Industry would participate. Ernst & Young is assisting the state as knowledge partner.

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