On the massive Deccan Plateau, the land is hard and rocky, and difficult to till. As Apa himself points out, when he began working on the fields in the early 1980s it did not produce enough for his family’s needs. He had to get other work — which he found with the Public Works Department (PWD), breaking stones, clearing weeds and other tough manual labour — to make ends meet. It was a difficult time with a growing family; Apa has two daughters and two sons, and elderly parents.
Apa had always wanted to be a businessman, but luck did not favour him. He borrowed money to set up businesses that failed. Finally, the arrival of Essar (affectionately called ‘the Company’ by Apa) changed his fortunes. The Essar executives recognized his abilities and his influence in the local community and entrusted him with staffing an assembly line.
From recruiting four people for the Company in the early days of its activities there, Apa today has a staffing business of over 250 people. Furthermore, he has diversified into the transportation business — with a fleet of 10 vehicles that he owns. He is planning to expand the transport business.
Apa is a contented man. He has his fields (in fact he has added to them), a thriving business and the hope for a better tomorrow. He has dignity. He says of Essar personnel: “They treat me with respect.”