He always dreamed of having his own independent business. Today, Nisar Baba’s manufacturing unit has developed into an award-winning company with uncompromising quality. Shams Irfan reports.
After graduating with a degree in commerce from Islamia College, Nisar A Baba, a third-generation trader, decided to setup a business unit in Kashmir where he would manufacture finished marbles. But Baba’s dream project coincided with the start of the armed struggle in Kashmir during the 80s, and the project was shelved forever.
In 1997, Baba finally decided to carry forward his family business of trading and contracting of electric equipment. With eyes firmly set on the goal, he started his business by repairing a electricity distribution transformer. For the first two years, Baba concentrated on only repairing transformers. “I decided to venture into manufacturing distribution transformers, as there was no such manufacturer in the valley. We started with manufacturing small transformers and repairing the big ones,” he said.
“We did not rush into manufacturing transformers. We kept ourselves busy with repairing different transformers, and it taught us a lot about manufacturing,” he said. Before Baba set up his unit in Kashmir, transformers were either sent to Pune or Bangalore for repairing. “We successfully managed to repair a 50,000 KVA transformer at our factory in Rangreeth. It boosted our confidence,” he recalled. The transportation cost itself was so huge that sending transformers outside Kashmir for repairing was a nuisance for the power department. “But after we successfully proved our worth, things became easier for both of us,” he said.
In a short period of two years since its start, Baba started making transformers ranging between 33 KV level and 6300 KVA capacity, something that was never done in Kashmir before. “I was always keen on starting a manufacturing unit of my own,” said Baba. “It was a long cherished dream. I always wanted my own manufacturing plant,” he added.
Having been actively involved in the electric sector for some time, Baba foresaw a huge supply-demand gap in Jammu and Kashmir, and setup a full scale manufacturing unit—Alba Power—in 2002.
In recognition of his outstanding performance, the Special Recognition Award and National Award [Manufacturing] was given to Alba Power Pvt Ltd in 2010 by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India.
Every new distribution transformer manufactured by Alba Powers, it has to pass through a series of tests that ultimately certifies the quality of the product. These distribution transformers are type tested at Electrical Research and Development Agency, Vadoora, before a final clearance is granted. Alba Power is cleared to manufacture transformers up to the range of 10,000 KVA.
“We have our own testing facility in Kashmir. Every single unit is type tested here before it is delivered into the market,” said Baba. There is no room for mistakes as Baba is keen to create a name for his product in the market outside Jammu and Kashmir.
Alba Power currently has an annual manufacturing capacity of 26 lakh KVA, which is unique by any standard. “I wanted to do something that was never done before by any entrepreneur in Kashmir,” he said.
The company not only managed to withstand tough competition with both price and quality within the state, but also successfully procured the supply order from Vidyut Vitran Nigam Limited, Jaipur. “Our company is an ISO certified company,” he said.
Managing a business unit in conflict prone Kashmir is always challenging. “The conflict has so far not affected our business in a big way. Once we get a big order we just stick to it. We don’t let it go until we deliver what we have promised,” said Baba.
Alba has now started manufacturing transformers on a large scale and recently succeeded in manufacturing a 10,000 KV power transformer. “It was type tested successfully,” he said. Currently, Alba Power is Kashmir’s leading manufacturer of distribution transformers and the company generates an annual turnover of Rs 10 crore.