Migrants making it big in Punjab
LUDHIANA: When Dilip Kumar Mandal set foot in Ludhiana the first time as an 18-year-old in 1981, he had Rs 2 in his pocket. Today, he has a flourishing business and four houses in the city. Travelling from Purnia in Bihar, Mandal wanted to make it big. But with no money or resources, he was forced to take shelter at the city railway station. But 30 years and a lot of hard work and determination later, Mandal now owns of a cycle spare parts manufacturing factory with an annual turnover running into crores. His company is named DK and Sons Industries.
Ludhiana town is home to a large number of migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and other parts of the country but Mandal’s success story challenges the common perception that ‘outsiders’ only undertake meagre jobs and rarely strike it big.
Recalling his days of struggle, Mandal said after completing his Class X, he came to Ludhiana for finding work. ”I can never forget the first two days here… I slept on the railway station platform and ate buns with the Rs 2 that I had,” he recalled.
On the third day, a contractor approached Mandal, asking him if he wanted to do some manual labour, to which he agreed. For one year, he polished tools used in cycles and managed to get a place to stay at the factory itself. In 1982, he was made incharge of the polishing department. ”Two years after that, I left my job and purchased two machines and set up my own business,” he added.
Mandal never looked back after that. ”I would go to the factory at 6am and return not before 9pm,” he reminisced.
With luck by his side, Mandal kept expanding his business. When he got married in 1990, the foremost thing on his mind was to provide a clean environment to his family. And so, he purchased land for his house in 1990.
The year 2003 marked a new phase in the industrialist’s life when he set up a factory on his own land. ”Three of my four houses have servant quarters so that those employed do not have to lead insecure lives. No migrant must sleep on the platform,” he said.
As Mandal’s father had passed away when he was still a little boy, the businessman took over the responsibility of bringing up his four younger siblings. While the brothers were helped to set up businesses, the sisters had to be married off.
”When I started this business in 1984, the company’s turnover was Rs 10 lakh but now it is over Rs 1 crore.” His firm now manufactures brakes for bicycles.
”I wish my son Prashant takes forward the enterprise that I so lovingly set up and venture into exports,” Mandal said.