AIRA Transformation

Aira in 20th Century

Aira in the 1950s was a small sleepy village, in the heartland of Uttar Pradesh’s sugarcane farming region, away from modernization and industrialization. Gobind Sugar Mill was a major source of livelihood for the thousands of sugarcane farmers residing in the vicinity of Aira. Due to financial reasons, Gobind Sugar Mill was not turning out to be a viable business and it was on the brink of closure. Thousands of sugarcane farmers approached Dr KK Birla, who already had a huge sugar empire and was also leading many prominent industries, and requested him to take over the business. Many of these farmers even camped outside his residence in Kolkata for a week to convince Dr KK Birla to buy a sick and dying Sugar Mill. Dr KK Birla decided in favor of buying Gobind Sugar Mill with the sole motive of giving respite to thousands of sugarcane farmers whose lives and families were dependable of the Sugar Mill. In 1952 Gobind Sugar Mill was resurrected under the care of Dr KK Birla and was revived from a dying entity to a vibrant Sugar Mill, it also became a listed entity thus renamed as Gobind Sugar Mills Ltd (GSML). Dr KK Birla also started focusing on the welfare of farmers and initiated many on-ground programs to benefit the farmers at the grass-root level. He used to personally attend the annual ‘Kisaan Sabha’, a platform for sugarcane farmers to put forward their issues and concerns regarding yield and returns, many at times Dr Birla used to interact with the farmers on a one-on-one basis.

Aira in the New Millennium

Aira & GSML had to undergo a 360-degree turnaround to meet the dynamic business scenario. In 2012 Adventz Group gained majority stakeholding of GSML and the management infused new technology and progressive outlook to the core sugar manufacturing process. New projects like Co-Generation Power Plant and the Capacity increase of sugarcane crushing were planned and executed. GSML also started producing Double Refined Sulphur Free Sugar in 2016. But the biggest impact was witnessed in the development of the rural socio-economy of Aira. Today the small quaint village enjoys a medical facility, earlier for any healthcare services villagers had to travel 40-45 minutes, not only GSML has free medical services for its employees and vendors/partners but there are many qualified doctors in the village who are catering to the people. The stability of GSML is creating employment opportunities and also increase the disposable income of people who are directly or indirectly involved with the Sugar Mill. Stable income generation has led to Financial Inclusion of villagers, major banks have opened their branch offices in Aira including ATM Services. With the rising purchasing power of people, the mode of communication and transport has improved by manifold in the village. Today 4G facilities can be enjoyed by the locals of Aira and direct bus services from Aira connecting to District headquarter and nearby towns are plying multiple times. In the coming years, Aira shall evolve further by embracing modernization and technological innovation.