Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Life Exclusive
The recruitment process: Fulfilling their dreams

The trip to Sri Lanka was intended to pick up skilled workers for the new garment factory. The 20th part of a series describing the unknown triumphs and travails of doing international business

Some ten days before my visit to Colombo was finalized, I made a quick visit to see my old friends in Gulf Industries; the boys and girls who helped me stand on my feet in the industry and let me learn the art. Of course, I was in touch with them on a regular basis, but this time it was paying back time, when I could help their own friends and relatives to work for me in the new plant.

Some of them had actually come and visited our plant under construction. This lead time helped them to drop their letters in advance, most of whom had taken my business card, as a sort of introduction.
Haji Cader himself received me at the airport, early in the morning when I arrived; and it took almost one hour before I could reach the hotel. I had left Dubai late Sunday night to arrive early Friday morning—our main job was to set for both Saturday and Sunday, when the applicants would gather for tests.
Haji Cader, whom I had not personally met, but had exchanged mails was in office, aided by his son, popular known and called as Kumar. His elder son was running a separate garment factory and as a ‘reward’ for good staff members, as a matter of policy, they offered the jobs overseas.  They also had a continuous training programme in this plant, so that this acted as the first step towards overseas placements, if work and loyalty were found acceptable and of very high standards.
Our Friday mission was not only for general discussions, but also for picking up the best of the senior staff available in the market. Because of the sudden demand in the Middle East, particularly in the UAE, the number of qualified and competent managers was increasing. We had picked up some supervisors and the final pick was Piyasena Perera, a fine young man whose knowledge of the industry and background were impeccable. The first major selection of staff was in place and we advised them to proceed with documentation and notifications to their bosses that they should be relieved at the end of the 30-day period after their resignations.
Our work on Saturday and Sunday began as early as 9am sharp and continued up to 6pm or even a little later, until every single person present was given a fair chance. I did not know a word or two in Sinhala, but, having picked up a book on this language, I had spent considerable time reading them, and was able to catch a word or two, here or there, to understand them.  More importantly, it was their facial expression that guided me in my selection process. Most knew their jobs, in terms of machinery usage and operation, but, obviously, nervousness sets in when you sit for an interview. In all such cases, I ensured that they were asked to rest and do it all over again; speed was not the deciding factor, but doing the job perfectly and without any mistakes on making various parts of the garment was strictly enforced.
Haji Cader had brought a lot of cut materials from his factory so that actual tests could be carried out; this is the reason, why his recruitment agency remained the top of the heap for a long time.
Once the candidate was selected, the process of paper work, accompanying passport formalities, submission of photos, no objection letters from their husbands, if married, and of course, release from the existing employers would take quite some time. I had presented the list of documents required for each applicant that would enable the Free Zone to process and issue the visa, which was between four to six weeks; Haji Cader had to ensure that these girls and boys also met in his office, so that they could establish some rapport before they arrived in an unknown place; he had to arrange for a batch of 60-70 to be booked on a single flight; and they were all identified with pink sarees when they reached Dubai. It was not an easy task,
Once these were received in Dubai, I had to start the process with Free Zone to obtain the visa; we received these in various lots, and I began my process to get the visa. We had placed orders for the machinery and the shipment was due in the first week of June. The first batch of men, who would arrive to get the machinery and assemble them were to arrive by middle of June and their visas process on a priority basis. Perera and his team arrived in time, as the electrical work was being completed; our plant was designed to operate with a 360-machine capacity and the first lot of some 140 machines were in the port for clearance.
The Free Zone had allocated the men’s quarters very near the entrance; and our own site was less than a mile way, a simple 15 minutes walk and the canteen or catering facility was within the staff compound. Although we met on the day of their arrival and visited the plant site, our work would actually begin the following day, when the machinery was delivered. Perera was systematic and ably helped by man Friday, known as Vimala Sena, brother-in-law of Donald, who had managed our Gulf Industries.
Until this point of time I had not finalized the orders for production in the plant, as I was confident of picking them up from other plants in operation in the Free Zone, whose owners by now had become friendly, once they visited our plant and realised that we all could work together and be successful.
By first week of July, I had already sent all the visas for the selected staff and the first lot of 60 workers were scheduled to arrive on 15th July; and by 20th the entire 140 would be in house. I visited the plant on a daily basis and coordinated the work progress, and met Perera’s requirements of small items like tools, etc, so that the machinery would be ready for use. These were received in CKD basis and his team would assemble and locate them suitably in the plant.
On 15th July, I was in the plant, and Perera had already placed the machinery in place for our batchline production, in two rows. He had set up machines at the appropriate places so that production becomes a smooth operation. The flight was scheduled to touch down at about 1330 hours and I was planning to return to the city to be at the airport. The pick-up bus was also expected to reach the airport by this time, though we knew that it would take not less than an hour for all the girls to be cleared from the customs.
About 11 30 or so, as we were discussing the final plans, Bob Eaustace, the engineer in charge of electrification and inspection of sites had come in and having met me earlier several times, confirmed that he would activate the power upon my request on 16th when I told him that our workers would be coming in to report for duty, as they were actually air borne at that time. “No problem, Mr Ram everything is fine”. I reconfirmed to him that the first batch was landing in Dubai airport in two hours.
Not known to us, there was another person, pardon my saying, an Englishman, who just walked in and asked for the plant manager; Perera, who took him around, asked for drawings, which he saw and asked him, “When do you plan to start your work here?” Perera advised him that our staff was on their way, and we plan to start our production on 17th. “You mean this month?” “Yes, of course,” replied Perera. “No, sorry, I can’t permit that; there are many irregularities, and these need to be rectified, before you can commence work". “You ask your boss or owners to talk to me.” Perera directed him to speak to me, as I was the boss and working partner in the firm. He simply stated that he was from the engineering department and because of the discrepancies in the plant he cannot permit us to start the work.
This was in direct contrast to what Bob had said half an hour earlier. This man had not even told exactly what his status was in the department. “Can you tell me, at least briefly, what the defects are?” “There are many.” “Have you checked with the approved drawings?” “No, I don’t have to and I will have to list the whole thing out when I get back to my office.” He was jumpy and I felt showing off all because of his position of being a staff from the engineering department!
I looked at him in the eye and told him; “Sir, I really do not know who you are and why you claim our workmanship is defective. You better go back and tell chief engineer Brown that the drawings approved by him are defective and so you cannot let us operate on schedule.”
For a moment he stood right in front of me, nonplussed. “I am collecting my staff in the next two hours; they will be here tomorrow at 8am, and there will be power at 7.30 for us to operate. If you want to stop the power connection, please go ahead after intimating the reasons to chief engineer Brown”.
“Piyasena, I am leaving for the airport and take the staff to their camp. They will be here tomorrow at 8 am and you can plan your work accordingly.”  With that, I left the plant with the visitor standing as though lightening had struck him.
On my way, I stopped at Bob’s office and briefed him about the engineer and his threat to stop our work the next day. He smiled and assured, “Not to worry Ram, your power will be on by 7 as soon as I arrive in the office.”
The Air Lanka flight arrived just a few minutes late and it took more than an hour and half for the staff to be cleared; almost everyone had only large hand bag, and once the head count was over and all passports collected with relative documents, they boarded the waiting bus to be taken to their camp.
They had come on a three-year contract, most of whom would stay much longer enabling them build their dream houses back home in Colombo and other places in the outskirts, help their family financially and give much-needed education to their children. A new life dawned for them.

(AK Ramdas has worked with the Engineering Export Promotion Council of the ministry of commerce and was associated with various committees of the Council. His international career took him to places like Beirut, Kuwait and Dubai at a time when these were small trading outposts. From being the advisor to exporters, he took over the mantle of a trader, travelled far and wide, and switched over to setting up garment factories and then worked in the US. He can be contacted at [email protected].)


Economy & Nation Exclusive
Infosys falls over 13% on disappointing Q4 results

Infosys, the second largest listed IT company in India, reported numbers that fell short of market expectations. Analysts feel that this may raise questions on the demand for IT services in the coming quarters

Infosys shares fell by over 13% on Friday due to the company’s disappointing fourth quarter results. According to analysts, the lower-than-expected results and guidance for next quarter declared by the company will re-ignite fresh debate on structural issues with Infosys and also questions the demand for IT services going into next year.

Infosys shares closed 12.6% down at Rs2403 on the Bombay Stock Exchange, while the benchmark Sensex ended 1.37% down at 17,094.

For the quarter to end-March, the IT company, reported a net profit of Rs2,316 crore compared with Rs1,818 crore a year ago period. Infosys' total revenues increased 22.1% to Rs8852 crore from Rs7250 crore same quarter last year. However, on a quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q), its net profit and total revenues declined 2.4% and 4.8%, respectively.

In a press release, SD Shibulal, managing director and chief executive, Infosys, said, “The year ahead looks challenging for the IT services industry, with slow recovery in the global markets. We are executing on our Infosys 3.0 strategy which is meant to deliver high quality growth in the medium to long term. We are making investments and have put in place a structure to deliver on this strategy.”

Infosys results disappointed on the back of a miss in the March quarter, on both topline growth as well as margins, which showed a steeper decline than expected. "We are not worried on the structural debate regarding off shoring—concerns resurface with every weak quarter. The company's performance is volatile and management's ability to predict this performance has become less accurate in the face of poor visibility in the macro environment. We expect this to continue for some time and hence continued pressure on the stock," said Barclays Capital in a research note.

Other Indian IT companies, notably TCS, have also indicated that the March quarter could be weaker than earlier expectations and hence similar issues though magnitude may differ could be plaguing the entire sector.

“We had a very difficult quarter with revenues declining sequentially. The global currency market volatility continues to be a challenge for the industry. Our focus on high quality growth coupled with strong financial discipline helped us to deliver on EPS guidance in US dollar terms,” said V Balakrishnan, Member of the Board and chief financial officer.

"We would wait for volatility around results to subside. Infosys remains India's premier IT services company, although it faces a tough short-term, in our view. Strong balance sheet, good cash flows and the high corporate governance of the company are other attractions," Barclays added.


Public Interest Exclusive
Pratibha Patil’s house stands on A1 defence land meant only for military use; military spending its resources for her

The Presidential denial is wearing thin. We learn that Rs8 crore of public money is allegedly being used to construct President Pratibha Patil’s bungalow on a land, which cannot be used for civilian purposes. And military resources are being deployed for her

In response to the Moneylife expose on how the President of India, Pratibha Patil, is constructing a house on defence land in Pune Cantonment while jawans live in abysmal conditions, the President of India’s office had issued a denial that no rules have been bent. But more skeletons are tumbling out, that reveal its futility in defending what it will be unable to defend. Here is the more in this developing story


First, The two bungalows stand on A1 Land of the Defence Land which means it has to be strictly used for military purpose and it cannot be used for civilian use. How then can President Patil even think of residing here?


Second, One bungalow on survey no 26A which rests on 2.1 acre land was in good condition and not declared as - what is termed in the army parlance - as`Beyond Economic Repair’ (BER). So, why was it pulled down?

Third, The President of India’s office in a press statement stated yesterday that only renovation is going on. However, the second bungalow on survey no 26B which is around 2.5 acres has been completely demolished to pave way for a new one. Is this called renovation?


Fourth, the Supreme Commander’s gallant soldiers and officers are paying for her post-retirement bungalow. The contract to build her palatial bungalow has been given by the MES (Military Engineering Services) under the aegis of Commander Works Engineers (CWE) Khadki which in turn comes under Chief Engineer Southern Command Headquarters. Thus, this project comes directly under Lt Gen A K Singh who is the present Army Commander of the Southern Command.  Lt Gen Singh needs to explain how he allowed the norms of allowing use of A1 Defence Land meant strictly for military purposes to be flouted and where is the provision to spend for a civilian bungalow

Fifth, the amount of money earmarked for her bungalow is allegedly Rs8 crore as per inside information in the Defence Estate Office. Will the President of India’s office reply to this extravagance being extracted from the public treasury?


In the meanwhile, Commander Ravindra Pathak (retd) and Col Suresh Patil (retd) and Anup Awasthi, RTI activist are holding a candlelight protest on Saturday, April 14th. Details are awaited.

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anantha ramdas

5 years ago

Today's Bangalore edition of the Mint has carried the Vinita Desmukh's story
of the year - President Pratibha Patel's
palatial palace in Pune - and how it came crumbling down, thanks to the moral and tremendous support given by Sucheta Dalal and Basu, well written by Vijayaraghavan, a veteran journalist. I think this is only the tip of the iceberg; only further investigation will reveal how the contractor was selected and how much money has been allocated for this purpose. Just as importantly, what does the Army plan to do with the unfinished building?
will they use it as a recreation centre or
convert it to an emergency medical
facility for the military personnel stationed in the area? Or will they simply demolish and build the promised housing facilities for the war widows and veterans of the Kargil War? I trust Vinita and her team will
continue their quest for truth. After all, we swear, by satyameva jayate?

james sandhu

5 years ago

it is not the goverment is wrong , it the shit of the people who vote for them in the first place


5 years ago


narayana swami

5 years ago


Eugene Lobo

5 years ago

Dear Mrs Patil,
Every human born has to die someday, & you are not an exception! When we die we will have to stand before the Almighty for his judgement. The good deeds we do in this life will make our punishment forgiven or made lighter. You are rich by any standards, otherwise ask your children to support you as it is the law in Maharashtra that the children should look after their aging parents. Why you want to cheat your integrity & conscience by usurping the defense land, a palatial bungalow built on it by Army funds and spend some more crores to look after you after your retirement? You have looted enough already in the last 5years. Go to your hometown live with your dear ones and enjoy your remaining life with your dear children&grand children.Nobody caries anything with them in their last journey except the goodwill that they have earned. This is my humble request!



In Reply to Eugene Lobo 5 years ago

Dear Eugene . . . the Good Book says . . . Deuteronomy 32:35



5 years ago

Maybe people of Pune need to help in organising donations for interior decoration of Pratibha Patil's landgrab vaalaa home in Kirkee, Pune. She needs only 85 lakhs, it seems . . . apparently the lady now wants 85 lakhs for interior decoration work for the palace being built in Pune . . . where does the greed and landgrab end? Free food and drink for the rest of her family for how many generations, next?


""In a huge snub to the head of the state President Pratibha Patil, the Home Ministry has turned down her demand for Rs 85 lakhs to do up her new controversy ridden retirement home in Pune.

Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram has reluctantly sanctioned Rs 20 lakhs which is still a record sum in the history of the republic.

Former presidents such as APJ Kalam were given Rs 6 and a half lakhs and earlier presidents such as KR Narayan and Shankar Dayal Sharma sought and got only Rs four and a half lakhs and one and a half lakhs.

This was cited by the Home Ministry to turn down Pratibha Patil's demand.""


Eugene Lobo

In Reply to malq 5 years ago

I am residing close to Kirkee, & I refuse to donate for Mrs Patil's interior decoration. The spit balls that will land on her bungalow by the Kirkeans & Punekars in disgust will be decorative enough & will leave nothing short of a historical monument for a Daaku!

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

I have posted the following complaint at

This is regarding the CLARIFICATION ON PRESIDENT'S POST RETIREMENT HOME at http://presidentofindia.nic.in/pr120412-...

I am disgusted at the shoddy clarification.

There are enough allegations against you in public domain and this beats them all.

I request you to get out of defence land and choose an accommodation as per the entitlement elsewhere.

P Vijayan Nair

5 years ago

Anna Hazare, Swami Ramdev, Kiran Bedi, Prashant Bhushan, Subramaniam Swamy -- the Nation needs you now. The silence og the Army, the Government and the Media is deafening!


Eugene lobo

In Reply to P Vijayan Nair 5 years ago

It is nice to be optimistic Sir, but these people or any other leaders are never there when you need them the most!

s pani

5 years ago

We had awise men like Dr.Radhakrshnan,A scientist of a caliber of Dr.Abdul Kalam.Now we have somebody who spends Rs.205 crores of tax payers money to move her family around the world,whose son is caught with Rs.1 crore distribution scandal during state municipal elections and what not.What a fall in standard!!!!!!!!!!

Capt Kiriti Guha

5 years ago

It is disgusting!!!!!!!!

She is no better that any of the other politicians. I feel that such people are totally unfit to hold the post of the President of this Country, where majority of the people are living below the poverty line and trying very hard to give their families the basic things in life such as shelter, four square meals, medical treatment and education that every citizen of this great country deserves. In addition many hardworking farmers from her district have been committing suicides and she yet is busy blowing up Tax payers money.

The Central Government and the Congress Party, will certainly have answers to rebut the write up and will say that she did not ask for any of this and the Government and the Armed services are doing this as she is the "Head of the Armed Services" as the President. Surely she could have refused to accept such benefits. is she had any feelings for the people and was a true leader of this nation and its people.

Capt Kiriti Guha


5 years ago

Our present ceo has looted the us earlir in mysterious excursions and then the house while her contribution is nil . A question pops into their heads must you provide for the article of Ceo in India and waste the exchequer\'s funds . Can such people sleep in deluxe when nation has such huge deficit available to you , She will be sacked for breach of regulations


5 years ago

This episode again reminded all of us the controversies when she became president. This only reconfirms that previous allegations against her right.

jiwan sharotri

5 years ago

In our civ locality(Chattian/slaughtr house area) on d outr periphery of Kasauli Mil station, army authy didnot permit access for fire tendr to approach a house on fire - "because improvmnt of that approach rd /access, can't be permitted on def/mil landmil"/ resultng in d death of a man n his 4 yrs old daughtr sleepng in d affectd house. So That is d condut of hr mil authy n rules position regardng .managmnt of def/mil lands in our country. (our case v-s-avis Prathibha Patil) !!!



In Reply to jiwan sharotri 5 years ago

Dear Jiwan Sharotri, thank you for writing in, and terribly sorry to hear about this incident.

You may wish to take this up further by RTI, in which case you may get some help from here:- http://getup4change.org/rti/


kishan bohra

5 years ago

its a shame...


5 years ago

Irrespective of whether this last allegation is true or not,her being President of our country is a continuous joke being played for 5 long years on all of us, Indians

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