Sunday, 7 July 2013

CHAPTER 21 : NEW INROADS


Since Ramjibhai was from Saurashtra, he always felt, from the very beginning that there should be at least one good industry in Gujarat. In 1950, efforts were also made to give concrete form to his desires. He took a lot of pains to set up a plant, ‘Saurashtra Engines,’ in Saurashtra to manufacture diesel engines. His old friend, Mohanlal Motichand Gadhadawala had taken a great deal of personal interest in this scheme. They also tried to convince Jaam Saheb to take an interest in this scheme, but he was not much inclined towards it and so the matter came to a halt.
The idea of setting up a carbon black factory only in Gujarat had been decided upon, but at that time permission from the Government of India was not forthcoming.
Today America is number one in the world in the carbon black industry. The well known American company, Columbian Carbon International has set up carbon black factories in England, Canada, Brazil, Italy, Japan amongst other countries. Kamani Industries established a technical collaboration with Columbian Carbon International and started the procedure to obtain an industrial licence to set up a factory. In 1964, the Indian government gave its authorization for the plan to produce 13,500 tons of carbon black annually.
The demand for carbon black in India at that time was 30,000 tons annually, which was expected to increase to 50,000 tons in 1970-71. Against this, industrial licences had been granted to produce 32,000 tons of carbon black. Along with the output from Kamani Industries, the production capacity was expected to reach 60,000 tons. This factory was to be started under the name of Columbian Carbon (India) Ltd.
The Government of India had decided to set up oil refineries in Cochin and Madras. Since, the raw material for carbon black comes from oil refineries, the government wanted the factory to be set up near these places, so it was decided to establish the factory in Cochin or Madras. There was also another strong reason for doing so; in southern India this region was a centre for the rubber industry, so it would be easy to transport both the raw materials and the finished product. In addition, since there were ports nearby, they would facilitate export of the material produced.          
It would be possible to reach the quota permitted by the licence in about three years. It was decided to produce 30 percent of the quota in the first year, 60 percent in the second year and 100 percent in the third year. Paving the way for another victory for Kamani Industries, the future of this factory looked very bright.  
Material that does not wear away easily is used in the bearings of watches, electric meters, water meters, voltmeters, ammeters, marine compasses etc. For this a form of ruby and topaz is especially useful. As such these are not very expensive, but the items in which they are used will definitely increase in value. These types of topaz bearings were required in the meters that were manufactured in the Jaipur factory. Since these types of bearings were not manufactured in India, considerable foreign exchange 1963 had to be spent in importing them. Now, if the raw material to manufacture these goods was available in India, why should they not be manufactured here? Since Ramjibhai wanted all the goods in his factories to be one hundred percent Indian, this idea gained strength and plans were put forward to manufacture jewel bearings and jewels for industrial use as soon as possible.
For this purpose, a company was established on 15th October under the name of Industrial Jewels Pvt. Ltd. The first directors of this company were Shri M.S. Parekh and Shrimati Sarlaben Parekh. Later this company was converted into a public limited company.
Like many other previous items, the credit for being the first to manufacture this item in India goes to Kamani Industries. These types of items had never been manufactured in India before, so it was but natural that foreign expertise would be required. Now, Switzerland is famous for this type of precision work. This type of work and work related to it was carried out by five companies, and after negotiating with the chief executive, Dr. Max Wolf of these five companies, collaboration was established with his firm, Wolf & Co.
A licence to manufacture these items – industrial jewels and delicate bearings – was obtained in November 1961.
It was decided to start this factory in Bhavnagar in Saurashtra. Even though the machines were automatic, at least a hundred workers would get daily wages. Since this work was very delicate and precise, a number of women could be employed. An important fact regarding this type of work was that the whole factory would have to be air conditioned. This was probably the first such factory in the whole of India and definitely the first fully air conditioned factory in Saurashtra, Gujarat.
In addition plans were also made to manufacture chemical fertilizer in southern India and aluminium items in Gujarat.   
An important point to be noted regarding all these plans and ventures, is that despite the very difficult times due to the monetary crisis because of the government’s financial regulations, famine and inflation of industrial projects - adversities which would discourage any new venture right from the start - Kamani Industries planned all these new ventures and took up the challenge of putting them into practice. This is proof of Kamani Industry’s spirit of adventure and its capabilities. In addition, all these ventures along with increasing the wealth of Kamani Industries also increased the industrial capacity and prosperity of the nation. It should be noted that just as in the case of its other industrial ventures, giving the nation an important place on the industrial map of the world, should be considered as one of Kamani Industry’s important and worthwhile endowments to the country, the credit for which naturally goes to Ramjibhai, the founder and leader of this industry.              

               

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