Chennai Airport Embellishment
When I joined the Tamil Nadu Handicrafts Development Corporation in September 2014, little did I know its potential. The Corporation had a turnover of Rs.31.00 odd crores in its 43 years of its existence. The hard work put in by many of my predecessors and the officers and staff was heartwarming to see and hear about. This had made Poompuhar a huge brand and a household name. We were selling our exquisite handcrafted products that also reflect our culture, through 14 showrooms across India, and by conducting about 250 plus exhibitions all over India and very rarely abroad.
When I started going deeper into the Organization, I realized that here was an untapped goldmine! With huge potential for massive turnover and greater profits, and hence greater good to our Artisans, many of who live in penury!
I was trying to get in touch with the Chennai Airport, corporate entities etc. to keep our products for sale as well as for decoration purposes. My team was a little intrigued and more amused with my idea that we could embellish institutions like the airport etc. A meeting with Mrs.Roopmathi Anand, a senior Architect with a high reputation and knowledge of the arts and crafts of India further inspired my interest. We came to the conclusion that we could design compositions with our handicraft products for interiors of many an institution.
Around this very time, the Director of Chennai Airports, Mr.Deepak Shasthri called on my team and me and requested Poompuhar’s help to embellish the interiors of Chennai Airport! This was just what the doctor ordered! I will be writing separately about Mr.Shasthri, in “My experiences”, but suffice to say that I met a true leader in him! This has been a most rewarding experience for me, not only because we bagged the orders for embellishing the International Terminals T3 and T4 at a cost of Rs.3.05 cores in the first phase and again for Rs.2.43 crores in the second phase, but also because of meeting a person with great integrity and a leadership style that inspires! I realized then that his teams of officers were equally committed and enthusiastic for transformation!
Now, we have completed the designs for airports at Tirupathi, Trichy, Madurai and Coimbatore, Kalaivanar Arangam at Chennai and a host of railway stations of the Southern Railway. My team is no more amused; rather their confidence levels are sky high! They are very happy that a new line of revenue has been opened up. I should specially mention the encouragement to our many innovations given by my Secretary HHTK, Mr.Harmander Singh IAS and the Hon’ble Minister for Labour and Rural Industries Mr.Mohan.
Our turnover would have crossed Rs.40.00 crores in 2015-16, but for the Election Model Code of Conduct coming into force on 04.03.2016. We could not undertake the second phase of work at the Chennai Airport, Ennore Port Trust etc. But for now we have to be satisfied with a turnover of Rs.34.47 crores for 2015-16. With more and more institutions looking to us for interior decoration, and the confidence it has given us, we are looking forward to a turnover of Rs.50.00 crores and above in the coming year!