Welcome to Meerut city. A city an hour drives away from the national capital of Delhi. Was home to great freedom fighters like Mangal Pandey and also for popular national fares like Nauchandi. The city now befalls in the NCR (National Capital Region) of Delhi. The city is well equipped with medicinal facilities of all kind. But in the recent two decades the city has also gained a name for the manufacture of 'Sports Equipments' of every sport played in the country. This is the story of that Ujjivan customer that has not only grown with her association with Ujjivan but also keep up the name of the city and the country in the field of manufacture of Sports Equipments.
In Abdullapur a colony on the outskirts of Meerut, where one has to leave the hustle bustle of the city and cross a stretch of green fields for kilometers and negotiate in the narrow lanes of the colony into a semi urban dwelling, one can easily point out the house of Kamlesh, Ujjivan customer since Ujjivan lay foot in Meerut. The house is as common to any other house in the colony but what are unique is the stockpile of unfinished wooden logs out side of the house and the sound of motor giving shape to the wood coming from the inside. Here, a lady is on her toes instructing 7 male labourers involved in the manufacturing, processing and packaging of cricket bats.
Kamlesh wife of Rajender has three sons Pankaj, Pradeep, Parvesh and the youngest in the family a daughter Urvashi. The trademark good of the family was 'Shuttle Cocks' which they still continue to produce but at a different site in a nearby village. The diversification to producing cricket bats happened with her association with Ujjivan. She has availed Rs.1 lakh unsecured business loan and scaled up the production to meet the demand of the season (IPL Indian Premier League). Today she has the capacity to produce 5000 bats on contractual basis in a week, which has found buyers both domestically and internationally.
It was 2010 when she came on board to Ujjivan with a ticket size of 10k. After repayment of the loan amount in 2011, her GL ticket size was 15k. She repaid the 2-year loan amount in a year and it was 2013 and her ticket size of 25k that she diversified from making only shuttlecocks to producing cricket bats at her home. At that time she had only one wood cutting machine at her home. Today she has three machines and twice she has availed a loan of 1 lakh since 2014. The staff of Ujjivan taking notice of her growing business and repayment potential matured her from group lending to individual.
'At first we were apprehensive about who they are and what they do?' she tells on the question of joining Ujjivan. They had doubts because the matter was financial and is a serious matter for ladies that too of semi urban dwelling. The staff of Ujjivan (CRS) had regularly visited the houses and motivated them to form groups and avail the facility. The folks there were still hesitant. But on seeing the other groups do well, initiated a group and approached with the application of amount of 10000/-. It was the time when she only manufactured shuttlecocks with the two labors she could hire. She recalls, it was only on that moment of receiving the amount at the branch she came to realize what Ujjivan is and does. She developed the responsibility of repaying the installments on time. As her small unit started growing and producing more, so did her demand for a higher size loans and it was always Ujjivan she banked upon for that. She never saw the need to approach any other institute or lender for her needs from then. What she now desires is to avail more repeated loans. She quickly wants to repay the previously borrowed loan and wants to borrow a new loan of higher denomination. Today all her sons are studying and do contribute in business activity on holidays.
The real take away for her coming on board Ujjivan was that she never had to look else where for borrowings or for a job and to see her children avail better education and amenities which she never had the opportunity of and that she saw her family grow old in the same place where they began and she along with her husband have paved the way for the coming generations in the future.
India has been fortunate that Meerut today has provided it with cricketers with the likes of Suresh Raina and Bhubaneswar Kumar and this is not the end but the beginning. The culture of this city to be a sports manufacturing hub being upheld day by day with the likes of people like Kamlesh and many others. At last, as these cricket stars have many renowned brands under their belt, customers like Kamlesh are the brand ambassadors for Ujjivan.
- Tapas Bhartiya