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:-
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.
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.
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