T V Bhavadas

Shirpur, a small Municipal town in Dhule district of Maharashtra was at best a sleepy town with not much activity till 1996 or so. The bane of the town was lack of water. The monsoon never favoured Shirpur with its bounty and there are no minor or major irrigation projects. Ninety percent of rural population being dependant on agriculture, the level of adversity was high and sufferings of the people were intolerable. Agriculture was thus always a losing proposition and the people of the area have to face tremendous distress. It was a little known town outside the district.

But Shirpur was destined to make progress. Shri. Amrish Patel, a hardcore industrialist and a noble philanthropist at the same time, while accidently passing through that town was moved by the level of poverty and hardship faced by the local people. His watchful eye, however, took a note that cotton was the major crop of the area. He immediately decided to improve the agronomic condition and create job opportunities and make every house hold happy by setting-up a textile complex.

In less than twenty years, Shirpur is famous  not only in the state but in the whole country and even outside the country also as a lush green town with flourishing agriculture and dotted with schools, high schools, engineering colleges, campus of reputed management institute ( Narsee Monjee Institute of Management studies) hospitals etc. The management institute has opened an unbelievable opportunity for local lads passing through the institute to land in plush jobs in and out of India.

M/s Deesan Group, a company originally having their establishments in Gujarat, promoted by  Shri Amrish Patel,  set-up a  cotton spinning mill in the backward Shirpur,  a small town in Dhule district of Maharashtra state in the year  1996.  Other than agriculture, there were no sources for employment for the people of the area.  This has resulted in the very low income of the people and the consequent poverty, lack of education, malnutrition, poor health conditions etc.

Mr. Amrish Patel, President of Shirpur Municipal Council says “On assuming office, I saw Shirpur’s economic transformation as a personal challenge; one to be pursued with imagination and conviction. If I achieved success, it would vindicate my belief in my abilities, while opening doors to a better, more productive life for scores of marginalized rural communities.

“I envisioned Shirpur as being the hub of the largest textile complex in Central India. This enterprise would also be the largest employer in the district, generating so many job opportunities that it would make it unnecessary for any son of the soil to leave his hometown in search of employment.

“It was all began by setting up a spinning unit in 1996. It was a modest step, but in just 13 years it has taken giant leaps into becoming a full-fledged, multi-process, cotton textile manufacturing enterprise, encompassing the entire value chain – from cultivation to production of fashion wear”.

The spinning mill was steadily expanded by forward integration like weaving, knitting, yarn and textile processing, , made-ups and ready-made garments etc. The installed capacity of the group’s textile manufacturing has also gone-up to 10 Million Meters per annum of cloth and 3 Million pieces of garments.  The value chain extends from cotton ginning to garmenting, made-ups, terry towels, home furnishing etc. Majority of the production of the group are exported to US, EU and developing nations. Over a course of 20 years, Shirpur has become one of the largest manufacturers and exporters of Textile products.

The State of the art machinery has been installed and stringent testing and quality control system has been employed at every stage of production, so that the end products conform to latest international standards. Industrial waste water is being treated with Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) in order to increase the water availability and reduce pollution. Even, agro wastes are being processed so that it can be put to better use.

Today, according to Mr. Chintan Patel, the operation covers 200 acres, employs 7,500 people, and adheres to strict environment guidelines in its processes. Most importantly, it serves the vision of holistic societal development – and herein lies its special appeal.

The direct and indirect employment in the companies also grew to about 10,000/ ie,  in tandem with rise in installed capacity and production. A large number of women are also employed. The full time employment empowered not only the men and women working in the group companies but their family members also, gradually enhancing the welfare and standard of living of the people of the area.

The textile group has undertaken a number of welfare measures in order to benefit the general populace of the region. The first priority was to make available adequate water for drinking as well as for irrigation for agriculture in the parched area. The group has undertaken various projects to widen and deepen the waterways. Over 500 check dams are made all over Shirpur to ensure that the rain water is well preserved and not a drop is wasted; thereby increasing the water level of the region considerably. Rain water harvesting arrangements have also been made and water treatment and recycling plants have been established. This has provided the much needed water for agriculture and sanitation purposes. Every household is supplied with potable water.  2.5 Million neem trees have been planted in the area in order to balance  the ecology and  environment.

Modern methods of cotton cultivation have been introduced in the area. Mechanised farming has been popularized and an agriculture Research Centre has been established. Good quality cotton seeds are made available to the farmers. The Cotton produced in the area is by and large contamination free and quality of cotton has increased considerably. Agriculturists were encouraged to take up cooperative farming. By all these measures, a sustainable environment has been created.

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital at Shirpur has been totally renovated and expanded by the textile group. The hospital is now equipped with modern instruments, Gadgets and machines  to provide quality medical treatment to the people of the area.  Ashram Schools have been established where quality education is provided to the children of scheduled tribes  and other weaker sections of the society. Free shelter, food, uniforms and study materials are provided. An aviation academy has been established by the group in Shirpur. In short Deesan Group is arming Shirpur with quality education and Technology.

The group has ventured in the scheme of Textile Park in the area with complete infra-structural facilities. The park is under development. Having created the necessary infra-structure facilities, the area is expected to attract more investments in industrial units, textile as well as others, along with ancillaries, resulting in increased industrial and economic activity of the region and ultimately leading to economic prosperity and wellbeing of the people of the area..

As per Mr. Chintan Patel, one of the promoters, “The Deesan textile production enterprise integrates numerous processes, from cotton seed acquisition to cultivation to ginning, spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and garmenting. The enterprise, by its very nature, has worked a socio-economic transformation in a hitherto backward region and we are proud to be a part of it.

“Working independently and with local governing bodies we empower rural communities by providing education, skill development programs, and opportunities for gainful employment. In fact, we measure our success by the success of those we assist in achieving their individual dreams.

“Being associated with excellence in quality – be it in yarn, fabric or garments – our products wear the cachet of renowned national and international brands and have a strong presence in countries across North America, Europe and Australia.

We’re also proud of the fact that we are among the few textile units to be organic certified – entirely capable of producing organic products to the most demanding international standards among other special finishes.” stated Mr. Chintan Patel”.

In conclusion, it may be seen that in the instant case the benefit of industrialization has encompassed people of the area and the entire population of Shirpur and particularly the under privileged. Let us  hope, Deesan Groups development model at Shirpur will be emulated by other industrial groups also for the development of backward regions.