JK IMPACT :: LOCAL TRADE AND COMMERCE
 

The presence of the plant has deeply impacted small and midsize trade such as groceries, fuel stations, vegetable vendors, public transport operators, general stores, banks, malls, restaurants, etc. Our survey reveals many traders have established their businesses keeping in view the clientele associated with JK Paper.
On the base of many interviews conducted in Songadh local market and farmers, our team found that JK Paper has its influence on  local trade and business in two ways:-

  1. Direct  {impact on agriculture}-
  2. Indirect {impact on market}


Direct Impact
We found direct impact of JK in its Farm forestry program. The company's plantation division is producing more than 50 lacs clones per annum which is being distributed amongst the farmers. Plantation Programme is being carried out surrounding the vacant mill area with pulp able species like Eucalyptus, Subabul, Casuarina etc for increasing raw material availability and green cover.

Under social forestry Programme, 30 million saplings have been distributed to farmers (at nominal cost) to grow tree plantation on their farmland / land holding. Bamboo rhizomes are being planted in vacant forest area in association with the Government Forest Department.

The plantation of Subabul saplings has been carried out on a massive scale to meet out the requirements of raw material, fodder for cattle and increasing revenue for farmers. This will help in bettering the environment along with increasing raw material availability.
Surveys have indicated that a  majority of farmers who earlier cultivated sugar canes (Saccharum Officinarum) as cash crop made reasonable profit as per investment and moderate to hard labor. A few of these farmers were motivated to try out  cultivation of Subabul (Leucaena leucocephala). JK paper further assured the farmers of guaranteed purchase of the said plants, on maturity. It was found that the yield of mature subabul returned more than thrice the profit as compared to mature sugarcane harvest. As indicated here, the plant has played a pivotal role in improving the economic benefit of the farmers and generating its own raw material thus making it a self - sufficient unit beneficial to both Man & Nature...

In 2016, approximately  1400 hectares land were covered by plantation of half a million cloned (genetically engineered, pulp - rich ) plants for the purpose.


Indirect Impact

The presence of the plant has affected local as well as the state economy in various ways. Interviews of a cross - sections of Songadh's population e.g. small traders, entrepreneurs, mid - size businessmen, vendors, private employers as well as public transport operators provides clear evidence of upward trend in generation of revenue.

Besides this, the town of Fort-Songadh is situated on a very vital interstate highway and trade route (Surat to Central India). Vehicles entering / crossing Fort-Songadh have to pass a toll plaza. A section of vehicles (heavy and mid size) are directly and indirectly associated with the JK paper ltd; wherein a considerable amount of revenue in the form of Toll fee makes its way to the national exchequer (via NATIONAL HIGHWAY AUTHORITY OF INDIA).

When our team interviewed, Mr. Jayendra Shinde (
Eminent Businessman, Agro - based pioneer, Workforce Contractor & Town councilor),  he credited the JK paper plant to be vital force in boosting the sales of his fuel station as 1/3 of the vehicles that purchase fuel are directly (heavy trucks carrying raw materials) or indirectly (staff vehicles or bikes) are related to the plant. This means whatever Mr. J. Shinde earns a day, 40%-45%  is generated straightaway from the vehicles coming to the plant.


According to Mr. Jayendra Shinde, "JK Paper is the largest provider of Employment to the skilled and unskilled labour in South Gujarat spanning the Dangs in South West Gujarat to Rajpipla district (major provider of Bamboo) in central Gujarat. At micro level - An average consignment of Bamboo required for pulp generation by the JK Paper plant, comes in 100 trucks which include their drivers, cleaners and porters."

Mrs. Shobhana Gaikwad (Ex - Ukai Hydroelectric Plant, Govt. of Gujarat's employee),
has a wonderful story to tell. In her words - "In the 1970's, Songadh was a sleepy town with barely 600- 700 houses dependent on one weekly market, 4 grocery stores and a solitary vernacular school. The native residents of the town and its periphery were illiterate, far from civilization & ignorant in many ways. After the arrival of JK paper on the scene, basic infrastructure such as running water, roads, public hospital & schools emerged. This brought the natives into the main stream, attracted migrants from the neighbouring state of Maharashtra and bound them into a homogenous and rich socio - cultural fabric, thus transforming the erstwhile sleepy town into a fast-developing one"



A veteran local trader Mr. Sohan lal Shah reminisces " Before the establishment of JK Paper ltd., many local skilled workmen were forced to look for employment in cities like surat (90 km away) and had to commute long distances to keep the fires of their homes burning. The plant brought with it new opportunities, new hopes and  new way of life."


Proprietor of a well-known grocery store Ganesh Provisions, Mr. Agrawal proudly mentions that more than half of his clientele are resident / members of JK Paper ltd. and come in the upwardly mobile section of society who have the spending capacity. This is why Mr. Agrawal stocks most of the high - end, domestic and international brands of merchandise, much in demand by the township residents.

One of the most familiar faces, shuttling between JK paper township and Songadh, is that of Mr. Gowardhan, supplier of dairy products, to every 4th household of the town! Mr. Gowerdhan, now in his 70's, narrates how he owes the growth of his business from modest to meteoric - by the presence of the plant.

Mr. Hinesh Modi, a post graduate in Micro - Biology and local resident owns a pharmacy in the Shopping Complex (run by JK Paper). He states that his enterprise runs briskly due to the plant, its staff and residents.

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Introduction

   JK Paper Ltd.
   Fort Songadh