Differently abled entrepreneur to hire 90 per cent special workforce

Industries director K Ravikumar (in blue shirt) at the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the garment unit in Lohardaga in July. Telegraph picture

Ranchi, Aug. 27: An upcoming apparels manufacturing unit in Lohardaga, which got 10,000sqft land from the state government after the Global Investors’ Summit in Ranchi this year, may truly blaze a trail.

SFK Manufacturers, owned by physically challenged Ranchi entrepreneur Aftab Alam, 35, plans to reserve more than 90 per cent of jobs for the differently abled in his new Lohardaga unit where he is investing Rs 3 crore.

Talking to this reporter recently, Alam, who currently runs a unit in Lowadih, Namkum, which manufactures sportswear and casualwear for buyers in Jharkhand, Bihar, Bengal and Chhattisgarh, said he wanted to open up the scope of jobs for people with disabilities, who despite many government schemes and legislations don’t get their due.

“Central rules state at least 5 per cent jobs must be reserved for the disabled but I doubt if any corporate entity obeys it,” said Alam, who had polio in his left hand as a child, but never let it be a deterrent.

He said chief minister Raghubar Das was happy to know SFK Manufacturers would hire a differently abled workforce of up to 90 per cent in the upcoming Lohardaga plant. “The chief minister was highly elated and assured me of all possible help in this venture,” he said.

From Lowadih to Lohardaga is his first step towards expansion, he said.

“In the first phase, out of 150 people who will be on our rolls, 145 will be differently abled. Jobs will be given based on talent and qualification. They will also be trained professionally depending on their inclination. We are promoting our job vacancies through word of mouth as well as through the Jharkhand Disabled Sports Welfare Academy which has centres in various districts,” he said.

From tomorrow, job forms will be formally circulated from Alam’s Lowadih unit and through Jharkhand Disabled Sports Welfare Academy, he said.

Appointment letters will be given officially in December and the Lohardaga unit would begin operations in January 2018 if all goes well. The Lohardaga unit would target manufacturing 3,000 readymade garments a day.

Alam said civil work to ready the Lohardaga unit was on in full swing at present.

The foundation stone of the unit was laid on July 21, only five months after the investors’ summit.

How was Alam’s brush with babudom?

“Government officials were cooperation personified,” Alam said, smiling. “Applications for requisite clearances for water and power connection were done through a single window system online and rarely did I have to take the trouble of running after departments.”