Reminisces of HMT Srinagar
ONCE UPON A TIME I WAS A PART OF THE CORPORATE CULTURE THAT HMT SYMBOLIZED. THE FACTORY IS NO MORE BUT THE NAME STUCK TO THE PLACE; WE NOW HAVE ECH-EM-TEE BUT NO HMT
MUSE OVER BY DR. NAZIR AHMAD GILKAR
The news in GK, March 29, 2012, titled HMT Watch Factory Out Of Revival Plan was highly discouraging and disturbing not only because of employment generation but more for work culture promoted in the organization. One is virtually in tears to find how an exemplary organization vanished at the hands of policy makers.
The resistance was shown by the corporate office for establishing HMT watch factory at Srinagar in early 1970s on account of some factors like non-availability of requisite workforce, severe climatic conditions, comparative cost disadvantage and so forth. But all such apprehensions were proved wrong by the vision of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when the ministry of heavy industries was directed to go ahead to launch the unit and by dint of hard and smart performance exhibited by the people in the organization .
The factory had a humble beginning as usual but over the period had gone for two expansions augmenting its installed capacity from 3-5 lack units per annum. Barring 16% components the production was carried in-house. Fabrication to assembly of watch parts was done in this compact unit. In the total composition of work force of 1200 the male –female ratio was 2:1. It was interesting to watch in the capital city of Srinagar a fleet of 22 SRTC buses carrying employees of the factory.
The author quite vividly remembers his decadal stay in this great organization even after 25 years. Some reminiscences of yester years are reproduced here:
One day a fellow employee met a serious accident in the central heating plant of the factory. An amount of fifty thousand was collected by the employees within half an hour. Such was the degree of fellow feeling. In mid 1970s it was quite an amount. The victim was air lifted to the PGI Chandigarah accompanied by the company doctor within two hours after happening of the accident.
During his routine visit to production shops the financial controller found a worker idle and the machine non operational in the press shop. On knowing that the helper was on leave he carried the die set on his shoulders and moved towards tool room for its rectification to make the machine functional. The concerned operator felt ashamed on this gesture, bowed before the controller and got the die set repaired and worked overtime to achieve the production target of the day.
At the time of finalization of annual reports the accounts personnel under the guidance of chartered accountants, cost and management accountants and chartered financial analysts used to stay late to complete the report well within the deadline. The rigorous and continuous typing work done manually those days made the typist (highly qualified MA, LLB) unconscious in the middle of night . At about 2 am the controller of accounts, who was now to have his meals, rushed to see the condition of the colleague .Quite interesting it was to see the person on the road side waiting for the company vehicle at 8 in the next morning to ensure his presence so that no difficulty is faced because the controller had to leave for corporate office at 11 am to present the annual financial report of the unit before the Director Finance .The central public enterprises are required to present annual corporate reports before public undertakings committee and ministry of corporate affairs every year for discussion in the parliament .
In seeking the redress of their demands the employees of the factory moved around the premises in the form of a procession and had a gate meeting .The police officer in charge directed his forces for cane charge. A lady employee impressed upon the officer that they were highly qualified, disciplined and operating within the provisions of the law of the land. The officer restrained his personnel. Alas that courageous employee fell a victim to the violence later.
Punctuality was maintained. Female employee used to carry her kid in her lap waiting for the company vehicle to reach in time to punch in the attendance card. This was a practice in sunny or rainy days. Of course to see the kids in the crèche twice a day as provided under relevant law. The crèche was working under the supervision of a qualified doctor. There were slogans on the tongue of every one like zero defect year, if you have nothing to do please do not do it here. There was no Tomorrow Culture. Above all people in this great organization were quality conscious and self motivated.
This organization developed confidence and competence to such a level in the people that engineers and operators alike started their own industrial ventures. They turned into entrepreneurs when a number of ancillary units were setup to feed the parent organization in critical areas of production process .This way more job opportunities were offered and cost effectiveness in the production activity ensured.
The experience and exposure gained no doubt was rich and unparallel. Such a corporate culture in Kashmir now is a thing of past. Fellow people in this esteemed organization considered work as worship. They were workaholic in true sense.
The author is Principal SP College & can be mailed at gilkarna@rediffmail .com
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Mar 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 30 Mar 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 31 Mar 2012 00:00:00 IST
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