The Foundry Of The Steel Giant
“Saavdhaan! loco aa rahi hai” the haunting voice suddenly caught my attention as I donned myself with the safety gear issued for a visit to the workshop of sixth largest steel plant of the world.
My puzzled expression brought an indulgent smile on the face of the Plant’s representative who in an attempt to explain managed to confuse me further: “The train carrying torpedo is due to arrive and hence the announcement”
My brain often thriving on stories from war-spy-espionage thrillers went into an overdrive and I wondered what a torpedo was doing on a train…and what on earth was a train doing inside a steel plant? I was saved from an awkward moment when another visitor from our team reminded me of the rail tracks that we saw while driving in the steel plant. He enlightened me about this ‘torpedo’ shaped vessels that carry the molten iron.
I was recently visiting TATA TISCON, at ‘Tatanagar’ the ‘Steel city’ or Jamshedpur, aptly named after Jamshetji Nusserwanji Tata, the founder of largest conglomerates in India and instrumental in establishing the city. Earlier called ‘Sakchi’ the city was renamed after the great visionary Jamshetji Tata in 1919. Spread over 150 kilometre square area, it lies at the confluence of Subarnarekha and Kharkai rivers.
Once inside past the ever vigilant guards, with those coal-dust laden humongous pipes running in all directions, towering chimneys billowing gargantuan clouds of steam, workers with bright helmets and fluorescent jackets busy with their various activities and a very distinct sound of a well-oiled busy work place in background, I was awed and overwhelmed by the sheer scale and expanse of the facility. I wanted to absorb and observe as much…..
A brief introduction later we were ushered into a glass cabin and I could see the furnace fire raging….the smouldering flames leapt out with such a viciousness that the emanating heat could be felt even inside the glass cabin. The intense brightness and scalding temperatures that reach up to 1700 degree centigrade, gave me a fair idea what it might feel if I went near that celestial ball of fire!
The fire spewing furnace was alluring even in its scary glowing avatar….I felt drawn to it like a moth to the flame! Only the strict rule of not allowing visitors anywhere close to furnace prevented me from being singed like Icarus who in his recklessness flew too close to the sun.
The visit left me impressed at the motivation factor that guided such huge work force even though there was no new design, the end product was neither any attractive and even the working atmosphere was so very tough…
For me, at the construction sites, the knowledge that the end result of using all that unattractive material, the cement, brick, mortar and reinforcement, would finally be something very functional, aesthetic and attractive had kept me energised and motivated in spending hours going over all details again and again.
But here in this facility, may be it was the pride in being associated with the name who is considered “Father of Indian Industry” or the worker friendly fundamental rights advocated by him or the assurance of safe housing, education for their kids, medical facilities, and retirement benefits that made them stick to the brand……whatever it was, it showed in their enthusiasm to take us around their work place and explain the whole process in voices raised above the loud clank of metal.
The people here, be it a fore-man, crane driver, furnace operator or the top brass exhibited an unwavering commitment…Their loyalty bordered on reverence….and why not, if the employer is willing to give a free hand to the workforce in taking independent informed decisions that translate into a long-term profit and growth of industry.
In an evening spent dining with the top executives of TATA TISCON, I realised that people from as far as Tamilnadu, Punjab, Maharashtra had joined forces with the industry only to have stayed back for years with their kids and grandchildren growing up and working in same industry again. They had all amalgamated into one big family participating in each others’ joys and troubles, celebrating festivals, adapting each others’ traditions, looking out for each other….
It dawned on me, that with the largest plant in India, this was truly the foundry of the steel giant,the melting pot….where not only iron is melted and shaped but also blended are the variety of cultures and traditions shaping a self-reliant, self-sustaining society…
This post is a part of the #BuildingBlogsOfJoy activity of TATA TISCON in association with BlogAdda.com