Monday, May 23, 2011

Labor pains..

While in search of our land, I came across a person who was into herbal extraction and exports. We got chatting about the project I was pursuing. I told him that I was seeking a large parcel of land which had good power and water facilities. He told me that he could help me out through a “political figure” from Dindigul area who is/was the wife of a serving state minister. My acquaintance was apparently her “advisor”. A retired bank manager engaged in herbal extraction and an advisor to a political person just did not seem right. Anyway, I did not question much and agreed to meet the lady. 

Cautious but inquisitive, I asked him to arrange a meeting with the lady who allegedly was politically affiliated. When I arrived at the location, I am ushered into her flat cum office in Anna Nagar. There was a Bolero parked under the stilts with number plate starting with TN 59 … which was a dindigul number , so we knew she was indeed from Dindigul.  We enter the flat and are greeted by a lady sitting behind a small desk. She was loaded with jewellery starting from her ears down to her fingers and everything in between. Couple of big gold necklaces adorned her neckline. She was flanked by 3-4 “side kicks” who were sitting in a straight line.
General introduction ensued and soon we get down to business. I tell her about my cultivation plans etc. I describe the benefits of the project socially, economically, and environmentally. Her frequent nodding of head gives me inkling she is excited about the project and or at least she pretends to! 

She assures me of full support and would help me in finding a good patch of land near Dindigul area. I feel pretty good about it since it enjoys fairly good weather year round and has good fertile soil as well. Towards the end of our discussion, she tells me that she does not want anything in return but would like to be acknowledged periodically through PR events organized by us. That did not seem to be an unreasonable request since I was planning to do a few PR events myself – including her as well would not make much of a difference. 

Then the stinker came when she said she would like to control the labor since it was her “area”. She maintained that she wanted to make sure her people are not exploited in anyway and are “looked after well” and are provided with offs during political events. That pretty much dashed my hopes of going any further with her. I told her that I would get back to her but I never did. 

Several months later, I saw the same ex bank manager at the Coimbatore Agri Expo. He had put up a stall for Chinese poultry and piggery enclosures. We exchanged pleasantries and I moved on to the next stall. I still do not understand how on earth does a retired bank manager start a herbal extraction plant, is a political advisor and still has time to import Chinese animal enclosures. I guess I need to learn from the master multi-tasker!  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

'Life line Express' comissioned..

After obtaining the EB connection in mid March, it was time to erect our 2 borewells with appropriate pumps. Water endurance testing was done for over 10 hours to ensure continuous water supply for a given depth and at the end of the exercise, we decided to erect the pump at 130 ft. If the water dries up in future, we can go lower by about another 50-70 ft (before we hit the end of casing pipes)

Getting the setup ready before the testing commenced.

Continuous monitoring of water yield was performed to ensure water potential was not depleting at a given depth.

We tested for over 10 hours and we were satisfied with 275 LPM (Litres per minute) yield.
It was ensured that the water flowing into the channel (as seen in the pic) did not go waste - with high moisture in the channel, we took up the task to deepen the channel for effective rain water management.

Borewell team poses with a Texmo 5 HP 8 stage submersible pump - model TRS 4508S

Borewell crew inserts the first 2" UPVC pipe. A total of 13 pipes were used.

'Liquid abundance'


Texmo 5 HP 8 stage submersible pump - model TRS 4508S - Rs 24164
2" UPVC Pipes (13 nos @ Rs 591 each)                             - Rs 7683
2" adaptor                                                                         - Rs 529
2" borewell clamp (heavy - 2nos @ Rs 529 each)                  - Rs 1058
Misc hardware (ropes, tape, bore cover, coupling)                 - Rs 1820

Total                                                                                 - Rs 35254 + 4% VAT

When taming the rain water runoff becomes essential!

Our farm is surrounded by water channels in the eastern and western directions. Over the years, due to excessive soil erosion and silting, the channels have come up to level of the land. Hence, instant flooding was a frequent occurrence on heavy showers.
So we decided to deepen one of the more problematic channels and we were delighted to see the results when it rained heavily a couple of weeks back.

One of the channels (bottom of the picture) which was dug deeper with a JCB

Channel was dug approx. 3 ft deep and 3 ft wide.

Channel put to test  - we were happy to see the results.
After the water dried up, we noticed that the channel depth decreased by 6 to 8 inches. Channel deepening will be a continuous exercise, nonetheless we are glad to have tamed the rain water runoff for now!

One of the borewells is adjacent to the water channel and after having tested it for 10 hours, there was enough moisture in the channel to accomplish this exercise in the shortest time possible.
It took about 10 hours to deepen 200 m of channel tract. The expense incurred was close to Rs 6000.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Blog subscription..

It is very encouraging to see a significant increase in viewership over the last couple of months. We appreciate your comments, queries and support.
In response to some of the queries, I would like to inform that blog subscription is absolutely FREE! Subscribing to my blog is very simple - you just have to type your email ID in Subscribe! box on the bottom right side of the blog page. A confirmation email will be sent and you have to click on an activation link to follow us.

I hope to see you some more blog followers in the coming days. Happy blog reading! 


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Land as a security in Kerala!

We visited several lands in Theni district in our year long search. Theni borders Kerala and Tamil Nadu and is a very picturesque area and is famous for a variety of big and small orchards, plantations and farms. We came across a 150 acre farm land about 15 km from the town. The area was absolutely phenomenal. It was a flat land (Theni can get mountainous in certain areas) with mountains on the back end and overlooking the mountains towards Kerala. There were small habitations on top of the mountain with smoke billowing from the roof tops, along with nice crisp weather with a little chill in the air – it was very picturesque. Having studied and grown up in Dehradun, it was like looking at Mussoorie, right here in Tamil Nadu. 

Overall, the land was good and we expressed interest to our broker (we will call him D). I asked D to set up a meeting with the owner to discuss prices. After a day, D got back to me stating that the owner is in Kerala and would like to meet me in Cochin. The drive from Chennai to Theni was about 8 hours  and there was no way I was going to drive another 8 hours to Cochin. D would not disclose the owner’s number since he felt he may be bypassed from the transaction. Later, he divulged that there were problems in about 15 acres of the land. The owner’s  partner had sold part of the land without his consent. D was sure that things would be sorted out as the owner was a political heavyweight in Kerala and would get things right after I bought the land. In essence, he would “ make things right” after I paid the owner. I suggested he should use his political clout to make things right before the transaction occurred, however he persisted that the land  did not have any major issue. It was getting mildly frustrating that D would present discoveries periodically but would not let me interact directly with the owner. 

After getting an earful, D got back to me after several days that the owner would call me. So, I talk to “Mr political Heavyweight from Kerala” and inquire about the status of the land. He sings the same tune about his partner cheating him and the case would be settled in 1-2 months. I offered waiting for 1-2 months, and then buying the land without any issues. He did not show interest in that offer and pressed on for immediate sale. The most fascinating business proposition of my life was yet to come. He offered to put a piece of land in Kerala apparently worth Rs 2 Crore as a security. Soon enough I realized that it was no point reasoning and I was wasting time with him. I politely disconnected the phone and that was the last time we ever spoke.