Monday, 8 July 2013
Foreword By Shri Morarji Desai
1 Welcome Address By Shri U N Dhebar
2 Chapter 1 Foresight
3 Chapter 2 Past History
4 Chapter 3 Poorman’s Silver
5 Chapter 4 Swadeshi: The First Retirement
6 Chapter 5 Coming out of Retirement
7 Chapter 6 First Trip Abroad and Taking Retirement for Second Time.
8 Chapter 7 Involvement with Khadi
9 Chapter 8 Venerable Gandhi’s Personality
10 Chapter 9 Industrial Expansion
11 Chapter 10 Industrial Expansion
12 Chapter 11 Jaipur Metals & Electricals Ltd
13 Chapter 12 Kamani Metals & Alloys Ltd
14 Chapter 14 Kamani Engineering Corporation Ltd
15 Chapter 15 Kamani Engineering Corporation Ltd
16 Chapter 16 Kamani Metal Oxide Pvt Ltd
17 Chapter 17 Kamani Tubes Pvt Ltd
18 Chapter 18 X-Ray Engineering Company (India) Pvt Ltd
19 Chapter 19 Indian Rubber Regenerating Company Ltd
20 Chapter 20 Development Schemes
21 Chapter 21 New Inroads
22 Chapter 22 New Inroads (continued)
23 Chapter 23 A Generous Heart
24 Chapter 24 Brothers
25 Chapter 25 Family
26 Chapter 26 Humanity
27 Chapter 27 27th June
28 Chapter 28 True Wealth
29 A A New Approach
30 B Jaipur Metals & Electricals Ltd
31 C Kamani Metals & Alloys Pvt Ltd
32 D Kamani Engineering Corporation Ltd
33 E, F, G Kamani Metallic Oxides Pvt Ltd & 2 others
34 Memorial By Shri Mohanlal Mehta – Sopan
35 Trustee’s Report by Shri Poonamchand Ramjibhai Kamani
Special Thanks to
Ms Anu Sheth who has done an excellent translation of the biography of late Shri Ramjibhai Kamani, for his grandchildren to read.
Ms Anu Sheth was teaching in St Xavier's College in the Department of Physics and did her Ph.D from TIFR before getting into publication. Ms Anu Sheth she worked as an acquisition Editor for Wiley Eastern Ltd., where she dealt with their scientific and technical books. After she retired she continued editing books on a free lance basis for various publishers. These were of course mainly scientific and technical books. However she has started branching out into editing general (non fiction) books.
This translation from Gujarati to English is the first she has done though new and challenging field for her as although she is Gujarati, she was born, brought up and did her schooling in England. So Ms Sheth’s Gujarati was self taught.
Sunday, 7 July 2013
We present, in this short biography, the different fields and activities that our Respected Elder and founder of the Kamani Group - its director and inspiration - Shri Ramjibhai Hansraj Kamani engaged in during his life, with the hope that it will motivate and show the way to people in different walks of society, especially the coming generation. Even now we feel that he is taking an active interest and showing us the way, not only in the industries he established and developed, but he is also the inspiration behind the industries set up after his death.
The Kamani family, which along with his own family members includes, the workers, officials and many friends, all know that Shri Ramjibhai, besides being a successful and foresighted industrialist was also a social worker and nationalist. He always took a deep interest in the field of education and helped it many different ways. He has done appreciable work in many fields - from khadi and serving Harijans to developing huge industries that are useful to the nation and educating the people.
During his lifetime he made arrangements to ensure that all his works would remain functioning and active for a long time. His large and extended family has made every effort to keep this tradition going. ‘Kamani Foundation’ and ‘Kamani Charity Trust,’ were set up in 1960. Ramjibhai was always ready to help in many different good causes. Along with his public donations, he also maintained a tradition of donating anonymously, so that ‘the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing.’ Over and above donating to social and educational causes, the Kamani Group has always risen to the occasion and given lakhs of Rupees to many other national causes. This is not the place to give all the details, but since the inception of the ‘Kamani Foundation’ and the ‘Kamani Charity Trust,’ in 1970-’71, more than Rs. 8 lakhs has been given towards scholarships and to educational institutions and more than Rs. 5 lakhs has been given as loans for educational purposes. Around Rs. 80,000 has been given for medical aid and more that Rs. 2 lakhs has been given for social causes. In addition to these two trusts, there is a third, the ‘Shri Ramjibhai Kamani Memorial Trust.’ From this trust over Rs. 8 lakhs has been given as donations. Including the financial aid given by this trust, the Kamani Group has given a total of over Rs. 65 lakhs as donations.
All these have been given throughout the country and without any discrimination between caste and creed. There was never any partiality towards a particular region or caste. They have given bright students the facilities to go abroad for higher studies. In addition to giving medical aid to individuals, they have also given aid towards research for the prevention and cure of cancer and other such diseases. Help is also given for social causes – to orphans, handicapped persons, widows, the underprivileged – and to help people in difficulty.
A scheme is also being planned to publish books, through all these trusts and funds, on public welfare, which will best help, inspire and show the way to the highest number of people. We can say that this book is the beginning of this scheme.
We feel it is our good fortune that Shri Morarjibhai Desai and Shri Dhebarbhai have written the Foreword and Welcome Address to this book, and would like to express our gratitude to them. Both these leaders, who were devoted to social work and service to the nation, had come into close contact with Shri Ramjibhai. We are grateful to them for what they have written after taking out time to read the book assiduously. That we had the support of somebody like Shri Mohanlal Mehta-Sopan, the well known writer and journalist, in writing editing and publishing Shri Ramjibhai’s inspiring life story, is indeed an auspicious event. He is one of our own and has known Shri Ramjibhai since 1930-’32. We are grateful to him for taking so much personal interest and carrying out this work in the shortest possible time.
It gives us great joy to present this biography of Shri Ramjibhai as a token of our love and respect. We hope that it will be an inspiration to the younger generation and many others in this field.
Poonamchand Ramjibhai Kamani
President : Kamani Chaity Trust
I first came into contact with the Respected Shri Ramjibhai in 1930-32, during the days of the freedom struggle (satyagraha). I had heard that he was a person who was successful in business and industry, but was interested and believed in the activities proposed by Pujya Gandhiji – khadhi, cottage industries, service to villagers, services to Harijans, supporting indigenous goods, etc., and he wholeheartedly supported the efforts to attain independence. When I saw him for the first time in his institution in Amreli, even during this first meeting I saw in him surprising humility, firm resolve, extremely practical common sense, clear thinking and foresight - his personality was fascinating and impressive. He was not interested in meaningless conversation or useless criticism; he was only expecting specific, meaningful work.
This first impression gradually became stronger. Whatever I came to see, know and hear about his life after that and whatever I have read in the pages of this book, was proved by that first experience which was truly appropriate. I have known Ramjibhai’s son, Punamchandbhai since the time he was studying in Vinay Mandir in Dakshinamurthy and enjoyed his affectionate nature and companionship for a few years. When he asked for my cooperation in publishing Ramjibhai’s biography, I joyfully agreed; to tell the truth it was also out of a sense of duty because of our friendship. When I glanced at whatever material he had gathered for this book, memories of my personal association with Ramjibhai surfaced anew, and I got a deep and unique insight into the different aspects of his personality. He had reached the pinnacle of success in the field of business and industry, and was also highly respected by others due to his humanitarian ways. Because he joyfully accepted his work as a duty it was pleasurable for him and an inspiration to others.
I have not written this biography, neither have I collected the material for it. I have not corrected or revised the drafts (of the book) but, I have been involved with it from the beginning to the end. Actually the painstaking work of collecting the material for this book, organizing it properly and writing it in the form of a biography, was done by Shri Dolarkumar Bhatt, Ramjibhai’s trusted friend, who had the good fortune of hearing about Ramjibhai’s experiences, first hand. The editing of the language and style was done by Shri Krishnavir Dixit, editor of Kalam Kitab, and an erstwhile colleague of mine. Shri Dixit is a renowned critic. As proof of his critical ability, the Gujarat Sahitya Association had appointed him to chair their annual debate on Gujarati literature in 1970. This book is the outcome of the hard work and enthusiasm of Shri Dolarkumar and Shri Dixit. My role has really been limited to that of an observer and planner and to giving some inspiration. The pictures given in this book were also located and collected by Shri Dolarkumar, who has also given the captions. The printing of the book and the arduous work of proof reading was carried out by Shri Dixit. Shri Punamchand and I did read and go through all this – so in the publication of this book it could be said that, ‘many hands made light work,’ or the work was done quickly and efficiently by many persons.
I came into contact with Shri Punamchand, who is endowed with many of his father’s virtues, and to some extent his other brothers, because of this book. Their goodness and practical intelligence made a lasting impression on me. Through this experience I also understood why they were so successful in the industrial and other fields and the secret as to why they were always progressing. I must also mention here that after they decided to do something, they knew how to see it through to the end.
After coming into close contact with Shri Ramjibhai and learning about his life and his work, I sincerely feel that he looked at life from all angles and revered it. He believed in the goodness of people with whom he came into contact and knew how to make the most of them. He was as adventurous at an older age as he was when he was younger, but what is surprising is that even at a young age he had very mature ideas, thinking and natural wisdom. He was able to foresee future circumstances, and had a natural ability to plan accordingly and reach the desired target. Another thing I could see in his life was that he could easily grasp the trend of the changing times and could naturally adapt to them; he did not need to think and reason about them. Due to this he was just as much a progeny of the Jawahar era and the scientific ages as he of the Gandhian era.
There was never any change in the simplicity of his personal life. Regular in his habits and aware and disciplined in his ways, Ramjibhai had trust in the innate goodness of mankind but also had an extraordinary capacity to judge people. He rarely made a mistake in deciding what was right or wrong, but could immediately and easily judge a person who came into contact with him. Because of this he could assign the appropriate rights and responsibilities to others. These managerial abilities came to him naturally. I feel that this ability must have played a major role in his sons’ upbringing and progress. He was adventurous and always ready to ‘seize the moment.’ It was never in his nature to ignore or run away from anything. Despite this he was never involved in any confrontation or fervour. He followed the principle of ‘one step at a time,’ or building by ‘one brick at a time.’ He became stronger in difficult circumstances. Rather than being cowed down by difficult circumstances he would see how to overcome them.
I consider it my good fortune that Shri Punamchandbhai, considering me a family member, has involved me in the work of writing and editing this book, which can be considered a tribute of the life and times of Shri Ramjibhai. This has given me an opportunity to look deeply into Ramjibhai’s life and works and truly understand their meaning. This benefit is more than compensation for any hard work I have put in, in the publishing of this work.
Dt. 11.10.’71 Mohanlal Mehta - Sopan
E. KAMANI METALLIC OXIDES PVT. LTD.
This company showed more progress than Kamani’s other companies. In 1964, this company made a profit of Rs. 1 lakh, 58 thousand, which increased to Rs. 2 lakhs, 58 thousand in 1965. After this, in 1966, the profit margin reached Rs. 3 lakhs, 98 thousand.
In this year on 9.7.66, Shri Poonamchand’s nephew (sister’s son), Shri Ashwin Parekh became a director of this company. In 1967 this company showed a profit of Rs. 4 lakhs, 54 thousand. A distribution agency was given to M/s Zinc and Chemicals. In 1968 the profit increased to Rs. 3 lakhs, 36 thousand, and reached over Rs. 8 lakhs, 24 thousand in 1969. In this year Shrimati Indira Shrivastava, the wife of Dr. Suresh Shrivastava, who was a director in Kamani Metals and Alloys Ltd., was appointed a director in this company.
F. KAMANI TUBES PVT. LTD.
In 1964 this company made a profit of Rs. 32 lakhs, 69 thousand. In 1965 the profit margin fell to Rs. 28 lakhs, 64 thousand. In 1965, the company experienced a shortage of metals and so like Kamani Metals and Alloys, this company also had to endure some hardship. Due to the confrontation with Pakistan, restrictions were imposed on articles that were not easy to procure, so it became difficult to obtain non ferrous metals.
This company diversified into manufacturing thin metallic rods used for making visor- nipples and metallic strips used in the hinges of spectacle frames. In addition there were plans to set up machines to produce aluminium rods.
They also planned to build a new air conditioned building behind Kamani Chambers, where the head office was situated.
In 1966 this company made a profit of Rs. 20 lakhs, 98 thousand. Due to the devaluation of the Rupee, the value of the loan taken from the Commonwealth Development Corporation increased and the company had to bear an additional liability of Rs. 14 lakhs, 29 thousand. Until June of this year, there was a shortage of both copper and zinc, so the decline in production continued.
Many of the new machines that had been ordered from abroad had arrived and work was started on setting them up.
Due to the fact that the output was less in the year 1966, the profit margin in the year 1967 fell to Rs. 2 lakhs, 80 thousand. The wave of depression also affected this company. As a result, despite the fact that the annual output increased in 1967, the demand for it decreased, and so it had to be sold at a lower rate, due to which the profits fell. The company also suffered because of the scarcity of raw metals.
In the year 1968, there was no question of making a profit instead the company had to bear a loss of Rs. 2 lakhs, 14 thousand. As the depression started to ease its effect was seen in the latter part of the year when the production did increase slightly, but due to the fact that the price of imported raw metals increased, the quantity received for the amount of money the company had fixed (for imports) was less than anticipated. As a result, costly scrap material had to be bought from the market so that the production could be continued. However, the effect of this increased production was really felt in 1969.
In 1969 the profit margin reached Rs. 39 lakhs, 5 thousand. The noteworthy feature of this year was that the sales and profit recorded were the highest in the last six years. From the time the factory had started working, the profits were highest in this year.
G. INDIAN RUBBER REGENERATING COMPANY LTD.
In 1964-65, this company made an income of Rs. 1 lakh, 34 thousand, without taking the expenses into account. In the previous year the output was 1,043 tons, which increased to 2,171 tons this year. But due to the fact that import licences had been issued last year there was not much demand for reclaimed rubber. The situation changed after April, 1965, when the Central Government stopped the import of reclaimed rubber.
As the demand for synthetic rubber increased in India, it became necessary to manufacture reclaimed rubber from synthetic rubber. Since the method of manufacturing reclaimed rubber from synthetic rubber was different from that of manufacturing reclaimed rubber from natural rubber the necessary machines had to be imported. For this purpose a loan of Rs. 4 lakhs was sanctioned by the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation. Additionally it was decided to increase the production from 4,800 tons to 10,400 tons.
The quality of the goods produced in this factory was considered to be the best in the whole of India. Due to the fact that the price of the goods was almost 30 - 40% less as compared to those imported from Europe and America, foreign material posed no competition. Moreover because imports were restricted, there was no possibility of any competition arising.
1965-66: During this year the profit margin reached to over Rs. 15 lakhs, 40 thousand, and for the first time since the company was started a dividend of 8% was declared. Due to the devaluation of the Rupee, the amount the company had to repay for the loan of 4 lakhs foreign exchange that they had taken increased to Rs. 9 lakhs, 33 thousand, so the company had to bear an additional burden. The output increased from 2,171 tons to 3,500 tons.
This year a new type of reclaimed rubber was manufactured. Moreover this year the total production capacity (of 4,800 tons) was utilised.
During this year there was an illegal strike of 40 days in the factory.
1966-67: During this year the profit margin was Rs. 16 lakhs, 10 thousand. Compared to last year the profit margin increased slightly this year. So an 8% dividend was declared as in the previous year.
Despite the fact that the strike lasted for 40 days, the output increased from 3,500 tons to 4,335 tons. Machines were set up to produce synthetic rubber. They were also granted permission to increase the production to 7,000 tons.
Even though the cost of all the raw materials had increased by 15-30%, the company did not increase the price of its finished goods, which was highly appreciated by the Central Government and the rubber industry.
Fortunately the depression did not affect this industry at all. Since the strike was illegal, the workers were ready to compromise. An agreement was reached regarding their wages and expenses, which would be valid until 30.4.69.
1967-68: This year the profit margin decreased and fell to Rs. 13 lakhs, 29 thousand. However a dividend of 12%, i.e. an increase of 4%, was declared. As compared to last year the output increased by 18%, but, despite this the profit decreased as the costs of labour, wages, electricity, oil and other necessary items required for production all increased, due to which the cost of production increased. So steps were taken to increase the production to 6,000 tons by March 1969 and to 7,000 tons by March 1970.
This year, the profit could have been higher, but due to the fact that there was a strike in the factory of one of the company’s largest clients – a tyre manufacturer – for 8 months, the quantity of goods sold was less. Once permission was received to increase the production by 2,200 tons it would reach 7,000 tons.
1968-69: This year the profit margin decreased. Since the profit was Rs. 12 lakhs, 63 thousand, a dividend of 7.5% was declared. As compared to last year the output neither increased nor decreased. The reason why the output remained constant was that there was a 16% cut in electric power in Maharashtra. If this had not happened then the output would have increased by 8%.
Shri Prabhakar Balwantrai Mehta was appointed as Resident Director and Chief Executive Officer and Shri Navin Kamani was also appointed as a director.
The President, Dr. Zakir Hussain passed away and was succeeded by Shri. V.V. Giri.
The national Small Scale Development Council decided to establish four centres for industries having a production of 600 tons. This company was ready to give technical collaboration to these centres.
1969-70: This year the profit was Rs. 15 lakhs, 56 thousand. Shares which had been bought at Rs. 75 were now worth Rs. 100. The production increased by 14% as compared to last year. Delivery of the machines, which had been ordered within India and from abroad, was delayed. So the target of 6,000 tons could not be realized. To avoid any impediment in the production, an agreement was made with the workers regarding their wages, which would be valid until August 1972.
The production capacity was increased to 7,000 tons. This year in the first efforts in exports, goods worth Rs. 1 lakh, 17 thousand were exported to middle, east and south Asia.
Due to a complete change in the way of working the production capacity increased a great deal.
This year the company started training programs for all categories of staff. In addition the company also started sending their workers to take part in training programs to increase their knowledge, in conversation, etc., held in other establishments of the Kamani Group.
The President of Kamani Indusries, Shri Poonamchand, presenting a model of the towers - produced by Kamani in the collaboration to develop electrical connectivity between India and Iran - to the Shah of Iran, Mohammed Raza Pallavi.
The Shah of Iran making a speech during the welcoming ceremony for him. From the left are Shrimati Sumitra Kamani and the Governor at that time, Dr. P.V. Cherian, Chief Minister Shri Vasantrao Naik, Shri Poonamchand Kamani and Central Government Minister, Dr. Karan Singh.
Shri Ashok Mehta, Manubhai Shah, Poonamchand Kamani, C.N. Vakil and H.M. Patel at a second discussion.
President, C.N. Vakil, Dr. R.C. Cooper, Shri Chimanlal Shah, Shri Poonamchand Kamani and Shri Hasmukh Kamani at a discussion organised by the Kamani Foundation, set up in memory of the Late Ramjibhai.
During a discussion of the Kamani Foundation, Shri S. Venkatraman, a member of the planning committee at that time, addressing the audience. Others seen in the photograph are Shri Murari Ved, Punamchand Kamani and Rasiklal Kamani.
During a discussion held on 13th September, 1971, the vice-president of the planning committee, Shri Subramanyam is giving a speech. The President of the planning committee is also seen in the photograph.
As a result of the company’s determination to conquer new fields in the industry, irrespective of profits, the annual profits of the largest company of the Kamani Group also started to gradually decline. In the year 1964-65 the profit was Rs. 52 lakhs, 72 thousand. Since there was a plan to issue bonus shares worth Rs. 22.5 lakhs, the shareholders could not be paid any dividend.
In the previous year the company had received a contract from the Central Railways to carry out the electrical work on the 370 kilometre track from Igatpuri to Nandgaon, due to this they made good progress in this year. When they started this kind of electrical installation work for the railways, about ten years previously, they had done so with the technical collaboration of a Belgian company – The Traction. However, for this electrical work along the 370 kilometres of railway tracks, there was no need of any technical collaboration. This contract was worth Rs. 1 crore, 70 lakhs. Moreover, the company had got a contract worth Rs. 1.25 crores, for the ropeway from Chasnala to Burnpur.
In addition to having the largest factory for transmission towers throughout Asia, this company also had a centre for testing towers, which was deemed as the largest in Asia. This centre started functioning on 20th May, 1965. This testing tower was 40 metres tall and had a width of 10.5 metres at its base.
The factory had an output of 25,000 tons. An application was submitted to the Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation to increase this to 60,000 tons, and this was approved. A loan of Rs. 70 lakhs – Rs. 40 lakhs in foreign exchange and Rs. 30 lakhs in Indian currency - was taken for this purpose. The first step in this venture was to put up a factory in Jaipur.
Thus, the year 1964-65 was momentous for both the country and for this company. During the conflict with Pakistan, the nation’s spirit burned bright, but along with this the country was also caught up in a financial crisis. Highly experienced persons like Pandit Nehru, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, Shri Balwantrai Mehta and Dr. H.J. Bhabha were no more. Within the company, Ramjibhai and Shri H.D. Hiranandani had also passed away. The tax on bonus shares was cancelled. Tax on dividends of up to 10% on fully paid up capital was also cancelled. The surtax was decreased from 40% to 35%. But simultaneously, the tax on the company’s income was increased by 10%. As a result the company had to shoulder a burden of nearly Rs. 1 lakh. The production of towers increased from 18248 to 27851 tons, i.e. an increase of 50%. Instead of manufacturing road rollers for only one type of tractor, the company now began producing them for three different types of tractors. The largest buyer of road rollers was the district assemblies. During this year 59 road rollers were sold.
Six hundred tons of towers were exported to Thailand and Nigeria. Exports would gradually increase. Since orders were being received from developing countries, payment was to be made in instalments over a period of 7 to 10 years. As a result the company had to bear a reduction in cash flow.
In the year 1965-66, the margin of profit increased to Rs. 43 lakhs, 26 thousand. It was possible to give a dividend of 7%. The production of towers was 22,678 tons, 5,173 tons less than that of the previous year. However the number of road rollers that were produced was 130, the highest ever. A new model of road roller was also brought out.
There was good progress in the export division. There was an order from Nigeria, worth Rs. 2 crores for 14,000 tons of 330 kv (kilovolt) towers. These towers were tested in India, for the first time ever, at the Jaipur factory on 29th September, 1966. At that time, the British consultants, M/s Merkz & McLeylan, representatives of the Niger Dam Authority were present. Towers worth Rs. 15 lakhs, 41 thousand and meters worth Rs. 75,000 were exported to Thailand and Kuwait, which was about 7% of the total production.
During this year there was a drastic change in the financial policy of the country. As a result the Rupee was devalued in June 1966. Funds generated by companies by taking fixed deposits and giving interest on them, were now controlled by the Central Government.
The business industrial union petitioned the Central Government that they be allowed take part in agricultural activities as a Joint Stock Company, but this was rejected.
Shri Navnit Kamani was appointed as a director of the company on 28.3.1966, whilst Dr. Balraj Nizavan was elected as a director on 19.1.1967.
1966-67: In this year the margin of profit was Rs. 37 lakhs, 53 thousand, which was less than that of the previous year by Rs. 5 lakhs, 73 thousand, but the company still declared a dividend of 12%.
As soon as the Jaipur factory was set up in June 1967, it went into production and on 26.12.67 it was inaugurated by the then finance minister, Shri Morarjibhai Desai.
Despite the fact that in October – November 1966, that is at the beginning of the company’s year, there was a sit down strike for 42 days - the production was slightly higher than that of the previous year. The construction work of the transmission lines and the ropeway in Andhra was completed during this year.
The company received an order to build an underground power house in Ukai. Until now the various projects undertaken were ropeways, radio towers and electrification lines – now civil construction work was also added.
In this year the annual output of the Kurla factory increased from 24,000 tons to 30,000 tons. The effect of the depression was still prevailing, so gradually special attention was paid to exports, and 42% of the output was allotted for exports. In addition, work on transmission lines went on at eighteen different places.
1967-68: In this year, the profit margin remained at Rs. 28 lakhs, 47 thousand. A point worth noting is that the country’s financial position once again declined and then started to stabilize. Agricultural output increased. In industry, the output increased in certain fields, the country’s foreign exchange position started to improve and the market rates remained fairly stable. These factors were signs that the financial state of affairs of the country was improving.
During the fourth Five Year Plan, the irrigation minister at that time, Dr. K.L. Rao announced that Rs. 800 crores would be allotted for the supply and spread of electrification.
It was anticipated that next year the export of engineering goods would increase from Rs. 42 crores to Rs. 85 crores, as the government established The Industrial Development Bank for industrial products and growth of exports.
Amongst the export orders received by the company this year the three main ones were:
1. Package deal from Iran: This included 25,000 tons of towers and 11,500 tons of copper conductors and A.C.S.R. The total worth of these goods was Rs. 15 crores.
In connection with this project, the Shah of Iran visited Mumbai on 12th January and on that occasion the Kamani Group had organized a function at the Taj Mahal Hotel, during which he had showered praise on Kamani Inustries.
2. Sudan turnkey project: This deal was for Rs. 6 crores. It included 9,000 tons of towers for 220 Kv and 110 Kv transmission lines and in addition A.C.S.R conductors and ground wire was to be supplied and the transmission lines set up.
This work was inaugurated on 8.2.1969, by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Sudan at that time: On this occasion he said, “The inspiration for the country of Sudan to gain (political) independence came from Mahatma Gandhi and Shri Nehru, who are very important to us; just as important for our country’s financial development is this cooperation with the Kamani Group. Can there be any greater praise from a non-developed nation towards a developing nation? ”
3. Order from the USA: This order, for 7,000 tons of towers for 500 Kv (transmission lines) was received from three power companies in America and was worth Rs. 1 crore, 20 lakhs. This order was the first of its kind, not only for Kamani, but for the whole of India. To receive an order for such engineering goods from a country considered as very advanced in the fields of science and technology, was not only a feather in the cap of the Kamani Group, but in that of the whole nation. On 26.2.69, Mr. A.W. Longacre, visited the Kurla factory on behalf of the American power companies. He wrote in the visitor’s book, “I have seen goods of extremely high quality produced in this factory. My power companies will be extremely satisfied with such work.”
As the company’s export business gradually increased, there was also criticism from some quarters that the factory was only concentrating on export orders and not giving enough attention to the nation’s needs. But this criticism was not valid, as in this year the following projects were to be completed:
1. In Maharashtra: Borivali - Tarapore transmission line
2. In Kerala: Sabarigir – Tamil Nadu border line
3. In Andhra Pradesh: Upper Sileru – Gazuvaka line
The underground power house in Ukai could not be completed due to water logging because of excessive rainfall.
In addition an order worth Rs. 1 crore, 55 lakhs was received for electrical installations from the Western Railways.
A new design of 220 Kv was brought out by the factory, leading to a 15% savings; over and above this a separate plant for galvanizing nuts and bolts was set up.
On 10.9.68, the company’s highly experienced director, Shri Chunilal Bhaichand Mehta passed away.
For the first time in the history of the Kamani Group, a decision was taken to sort out the differences between the workers and the management across the table.
1968-69: In this year there was actually a loss, but by making changes in the accounting system, according to Article 205 (2) (B) of the company’s rules, they were able to show a profit of Rs. 12 lakhs, 94 thousand.
In this year it was also decided to issue bonus shares in the ratio 1 : 10.
In the Jaipur factory, in addition to a sixteen day strike the zinc plating bath also failed. Due to water logging because of the floods, the work in Ukai also came to a halt. In Sudan, the route (along which the transmission lines were to be set up) was changed and so the work there was disrupted.
1969-70: This year the profit margin was Rs. 25 lakhs, 64 thousand. A dividend of 9% was distributed.
During the last two years or so the country had been facing a shortage of steel. This shortage continued in this year too. To put the new plans for the distribution of steel into effect, the Central Government appointed the Priority Committee in place of the Joint Plant Committee and gave the required importance to export orientated production.
The ruling Congress party won an overwhelming victory in the country. Bound by traditional conservative ideas, the public voted according to their own beliefs. As a result of which the ruling Congress party was victorious, and gained a greater majority than it had ever expected. In the fourth Five Year plan, it was decided that 232 lakh Kilowatts of electricity would be generated. The government’s financial policies were especially encouraging as far as exports were concerned. The company exported goods worth Rs. 8 crores, 18 lakhs, more than 50 times the amount as compared to the year 1965-66. The company was felicitated by the Engineering Export Promotion Council and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
An order was received for 500 kilometres of 220 Kv transmission lines. In addition they also received an order for the tails and maintenance of Jumbo jets. Thus the company branched out more and more. To further the progress of diversification, they received a loan of Rs. 45 lakhs from the Industrial Development Bank.
As per the laws applicable to contracts it became necessary to register this company with the Central Government’s Companies’ Department.
The most notable thing that happened this year was that the management decided to adopt a new philosophy.
Its five branches were as given below and they became a five pointed code of behaviour.
1. To maintain human dignity
2. No exploitation
3. Freedom of speech
4. Management by agreement
5. Agreement by persuasion
For many years the Kamani Brothers had been contemplating upon and discussing how to develop relations between the owners and the employees so that they were mutually beneficial to all. The philosophy, including the above five points, resulted after the services of Dr. Suresh Shrivastava of the Management College in Calcutta were introduced. And the philosophy was appreciated. Kamani Engineering was the first to take steps to act on this philosophy. Many committees were formed, which included representatives from all levels and all sides and the Kamini Brothers entrusted them with administrative responsibilities. The Kamani Brothers were always there to solve any difficult problems that arose. Business dealings which until now had been handled in traditional ways became more professional. With this new method of working, responsibility was decentralised in a major way. In the beginning, members of the committees experienced some confusion. They also experienced some trepidation, but later the idea of self preservation inspired them to accept their responsibilities and they all shouldered the work. A result of this was that people’s hidden strength bloomed and they made personal progress. This philosophy gradually extended to Kamani’s other companies and became widespread. With the employees having the opportunity to be directly involved in the company’s working, it was but natural that their attachment to the company grew and they felt it was their own; gradually this feeling became stronger.