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It's blind faith that did wonders for a soft engineering unit

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MISSION WITH VISION: P. Soundararajan (second from right), Additional General Manager, BHEL, inaugurating a cutting machine to mark the opening of a workshop in Tiruchi on Wednesday. PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM
MISSION WITH VISION: P. Soundararajan (second from right), Additional General Manager, BHEL, inaugurating a cutting machine to mark the opening of a workshop in Tiruchi on Wednesday. PHOTO: R.M. RAJARATHINAM

R. Krishnamoorthy

Visually- disabled workers behind success of a Rs. 63 lakh-turnover unit

TIRUCHI: A growth in turnover from Rs. 30,000 a year to Rs. 63 lakh is no mean achievement for an industry, which started off in 1973 as a cottage unit manufacturing chalk pieces and soap bars and transformed into a soft engineering unit subsequently.

More so, since the workforce behind the productivity has been visually- disabled toilers. They were roped in at the initiative of the Rotary Club of Tiruchi, and the inspiration provided by eminent philanthropists such as Joseph Gnanadikam and Govindaraj. Christophel Blinden Mission, Germany, and the State Bank of India, Tennur, had been providing the material and financial support respectively.

Yet, the Organisation for Rehabilitation of the Blind in Tiruchi (ORBIT), which has been running the soft engineering workshop as an ancillary unit for BHEL since 1976, is not prepared to rest on its laurels such as prizes and recognition from Chief Minister and the Social Welfare Board. ORBIT intends to increase the turnover from the present level of 640 tonnes to 1,800 tonnes, and double the present manpower strength of 50 with the BHEL's accelerated support.

Sense of dignity

Each employee at the unit now nurtures a sense of dignity by drawing salaries ranging between Rs. 2,500 and Rs. 4,000 a month. The employees value their economic independence the most.

While getting its new workshop inaugurated by top BHEL officials on Wednesday, functionaries of ORBIT were keen on securing not only work orders but also managerial expertise of the industrial giant to enhance productivity of the ancillary unit.

Fortunately, a request to this effect made by P. Gnanadurai Michael, Founder, ORBIT, was taken in for earnest consideration by P. Soundararajan and S. Subbaraj, Additional General Managers at BHEL.

The officials assured on behalf of BHEL that they would extend their cooperation to help the unit enhance its annual turnover to over Rs. 1 crore by way of imparting capacity enhancement training to its employees and absorbing the unit's productivity.

Buoyed by the success of the concept, the ORBIT has also drawn up plans to start similar units in other industrial pockets in the State such as Perundurai and Katpadi, said M. Ramachandran, president, ORBIT. P.M. Shafi, Advisor, thanked the BHEL for its sustained commitment to the cause of the disabled.

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