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Stainless Spirit

Sunil Gera

November 5, 2017    

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From a farming background to the head of operations in India’s biggest stainless steel producer, Dayal Singh has more to share about his 35-year long journey with JSL than we can imagine!

Meet the man who had risen from humble origins to a leadership position in the melt shop. The stainless fighter who proved that with sheer hard work that anything is possible. The one who saw the sanguine sun in the flames of fire, around which he worked day and night.

Tell Us About Your Family And Your Place Of Origin?

I was born in a farmer’s family in district Almora in Uttarakhand. Seeing difficult times and limited opportunities in our native place, my father moved to Delhi where he worked as a helper at a doctor’s clinic. Back in our village, while still in my adolescence, I was taking care of my mother and a younger brother. My school was about 8 kms from my house and means of transport were very limited, making commuting to school an ordeal. Besides, push for education in small villages, like ours, where poverty is pertinent, yields little. Thus, I received only basic education and could study only till class twelfth. My mother’s sudden illness forced me into marriage, and before I could even stand on my feet, I had yet another life to provide for.

In What Circumstances Did You Join JSL?

Hoping to find a job to support my family, I landed up in Hisar, where my maternal uncle worked with the central government. I arrived in Hisar with nothing but a bag of clothes and the responsibility of three people on my shoulders. My uncle’s friend informed us about a job opening in JSL and I lucked into employment as a supervisor in the Hisar Plant . This dates back to the summer of 1983, my last teenage year.

Describe Your First Few Years At JSL

My initial years at the Hisar plant were extremely challenging. Everything from the heavy machinery to the processes, appeared obscure at first. I needed someone to acquaint me with the know-how of steel making. However, with limited job opportunities, and insecurities as a result of that, people were not willing to offer aid. It was not until my acquaintance with Mr Sunil Gera, my mentor, that I learnt the required skills to work at a steel melt shop. Under his guidance, I moved on to acquire positions of responsibility and went up the corporate ladder. The fire that scared me first, was a hope towards the shining future.

Share Your Most Memorable Instance At JSL.

It was in 1990s that I achieved my first milestone of success. I was in the night shift and we were making J3 grade of stainless steel. Back then, J3 grade used to take three hours to finish, in per heat. There were not many people around at that time. I thought of experimenting a little in order to reduce the lead time. And so it happened. My experiment was a success. I reduced the lead time by 45 minutes and set a new benchmark by completing it in 2 hours 15 minutes. Mr Subrato Bhattacharya, who was the production head then, extolled me to the skies. There was no looking back after that.

What’s Your Message To The JSL Family?

The road to success is difficult. Sometimes luck favours you and sometimes you make your own luck with hard work and dedication. But, it’s never easy for anyone. Even the most successful people in the world have experienced failures. But those who rise up against difficulties and continue the march forward are bound to succeed. My wishes are always with my fellow workers and specially with the young colleagues who are full of life and colours. I wish them all the success to get going, despite the hurdles. Furthermore, I wish the company to grow by leaps and bounds so as to generate more employment opportunities. I can never forget how a 19 year old boy found his true mettle within the walls of a steel melt shop. In the flames of the fire that nurtures the blazing metal, a young boy was nurtured for life.

“I still remember a 19 year old young boy, who lacked qualification but had enough zeal to learn. The spark in his eyes, the eagerness to know more and the passion to do something big, he was always different from his fellow workmen. It is no wonder that he has come this far; he deserves every bit of it.”