In the time of recession, some small-scale units in Pimpri industrial belt stand apart

Despite the ongoing recession, which has hit even giants like Tata Motors, some of the small-scale industries (SSIs) have not only been able to withstand the bad times, but have managed to expand their operations in Pimpri-Chinchwad. There are some SSIs that haven't retrenched a single employee. A few are even recruiting fresh hands to increase their production, owing to growing demand. Some are adopting innovative measures to encourage employees to perform better to weather the current storm.

Industrialists point out that the Pimpri-Chinchwad belt has been in the grip of severe recession for months, but hard times have primarily been experienced by small-scale units supplying products to the automobile industry. "If there is a block closure by Tata Motors, it hits hundreds of SSIs that supply finished goods to it," said Kuldeep Mokashi, managing director of Shridhar Rubber Products (India) Pvt Ltd, an SSI.

Other than automobile-based SSIs, Mokashi said, engineering, rubber and agriculture-based industries are doing well in the Pimpri-Chinchwad industrial belt. "Even SSIs dealing with pharma firms, like Emcure, are doing well."

Shridhar Rubber Products had last month inaugurated its new premises in Chinchwad MIDC at a time when several industrial units have halted their restructuring or renovation plans. "We spent nearly Rs 3 crore in rebuilding our premises. The machines we use for rubber products have been imported from countries like Germany and Taiwan," said Mokashi.

The company also installed a bust of Ratan Tata, which Mokashi feels, will inspire employees to perform better and help the unit grow. "We follow the ideology of Tata. He has all along done business with a humane touch. After 26/11 Mumbai blasts, Tata not only reached out to those injured in the hotel, but others like auto drivers and vendors. The introduction of Nano also exemplified his concern for the common man," said Mokashi, whose father Madhusudhan Mokashi founded the firm over two decades ago.

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