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54yrs of industry giant

Far from the maddening crowd that turned up at Ranchi’s Morabadi Ground for the state’s birthday celebrations, Heavy Engineering Corporation (HEC) —once fondly dubbed “mother of all industries” — quietly slipped into its 54th year on Thursday.

Led by chairman-cum-managing director R. Mishra, the company organised a simple March for Excellence in Execution to commemorate its foundation day.

The two-kilometre run, which saw directors, CISF personnel, officers, supervisors, workers and their families braving the early morning chill to join in, was flagged off from HEC’s checkpost ground at Sector II and culminated at Friendship Avenue. HEC officials, who also released balloons to celebrate the occasion, later garlanded a statue of Jawahar Lal Nehru.

Old timers recalled that on November 15, 1958, when the country was celebrating Diwali, Nehru laid the foundation stone of the company in Ranchi as one of the largest integrated engineering complex in India.

The company, sources said, has ever since managed to hold its own despite market forces.

HEC had begun the current fiscal on a rather sombre note, grossing a modest net profit of Rs 5.90 crore for 2011-12, despite a global recession. The profits had come down remarkably from Rs 38.14 crore in 2010-11, but the company was one of the few that was still raking in profits.

In May this year, the corporation was conferred the BT Star PSU Excellence award in the turnaround category for its outstanding contribution to industry. The award was a repetition of the 2009 SCOPE Award for Excellence in Management and Turnaround.

Addressing a gathering after the run on Thursday, CMD Misra highlighted the achievements of the company and stressed on the needs of the hour — developing stronger in-house capabilities.

Congratulating the team for successfully tiding over turbulent times — particularly in 2005 when the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction recommended a permanent closure of the corporation ‘to stop further drain on the exchequer’ with a direction to Jharkhand High Court to commence liquidation proceedings — Misra said only a collective team effort could ensure that HEC continued attaining dizzying heights.

“The corporation will be called upon to play an increasingly significant role in strategic sectors in the days to come,” he said.