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Looking Beyond Observations
A most startling observation was brought to notice by Arvind Kumar, Chief Project Manager - Paradip refinery project, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), wherein some visually impaired people work together on making parts of Boilers at Tiruchirapalli for the company's refinery project. 'Organisation for Rehabilitation of the Blind in Trichy' (ORBIT) is one such outsourced vendor that makes pins and clamps for boilers.

December 21, 2011 has etched an unforgettable memory in my mind. I was at Tiruchirapalli on a mission to expedite supplies of Boilers at BHELĘs works for Power plant of IOCLĘs ongoing Paradip Refinery Project. BHEL has outsourced non-pressure parts of these boilers to certain vendors nearby Trichy. ÂORBITĘ is among such outsourced vendors and stands for ÂOrganisation For Rehabilitation of the Blind in TrichyĘ and makes pins and clamps for boilers.

When we reached ORBIT works, we were greeted by their President, P R Pandi, who himself is a visually impaired person. To my utter surprise, visually impaired people run the whole ORBIT workshop. Though I was aware of certain special schools and institutions for visually impaired persons but never heard about any manufacturing industry functioning completely with the aid of such people. What I saw next inside the workshop is quite difficult to believe.

I had never witnessed such a well-coordinated and coherent working by visually impaired persons. People were segregating the raw material, feeding the raw material on cutting, shearing and punching machines with the help of their fellow visually impaired friends, collecting the final products and bagging them after quality checks.

The whole manufacturing process was efficiently done and finished product was meeting the quality standards. I was lost in deep admiration seeing their untiring efforts for making vital parts for our project and was emotionally touched. Their interpersonal understanding and collective effort was exemplary and far better as compared to normal workers engaged in other industrial units.

People were working with no ego involvement and communication was being made not with vital sensory organs like eyes, but with their hearts. I was thrilled and compelled to think that dedicated and sincere working by these special people is a great example towards values of humanity that also enlightens the spirit of Project Management. Calm and peace prevail here in their coordinated rhythm of working against any feeling of industrial acrimony.

What came next was even more surprising. A physically handicapped welder was doing welding on the job and was assisted by a visually impaired helper. We saw his visually impaired helper almost running and going to store room next door to fetch the electrodes quickly.

When enquired how he could do such job with much ease, my fellow companion from BHEL told me that every worker working here is fully conversant with the layout of workshop and does the job with calculated steps  concepts of time and motion study, well grasped by them by heart. I was overwhelmed by their indomitable spirit, everlasting zeal and working in perfect harmony.

At the end, Pandi requested me „Sir, if you come across any blind person, please direct him to me, we will make him our team member here‰. I controlled my emotions, advised them to maintain timelines and quickly moved out with mixed feelings, thinking and admiring effort and passion of ORBIT in this endeavour and with firm conviction that Paradip Refinery Project will soon be a realised dream.