Covid-19 pandemic brings ex-jawan, who built a successful business, to his knees

 G Uthamadas, a retired Naik who had served the Indian Army for 17 years, had put high hopes on setting up a hollow bricks business in Thiruvananthapuram.

Published: 12th August 2020 06:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th August 2020 06:42 AM   |  A+A-

G Uthamadas giving finishing touches to a sculpture he made at his warehouse at Kalliyoor in Thiruvananathapuram on Tuesday

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: G Uthamadas, a retired Naik who had served the Indian Army for 17 years, had put high hopes on setting up a hollow bricks business in Thiruvananthapuram. He emerged as one of the leading businessmen in this trade. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic wrecked his business so badly that now he is coughing up money to pay the daily wages of his remaining 20 labourers without any work, lest they go elsewhere.

56-year-old Uthamadas had taken part in the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) operations in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990 and also in the Kargil War of 1999. When the Kalliyoor native retired in 2001, he started nursing his ambition to start an industry making sculptures for homes and temples as he was good at sculpting. He launched A S Hollow Bricks and Modern Cement Designing Industries — A and S standing for the names of his two children, Ashish, a 12th grader, and Smrithi, a doctor — which has several branches in Thiruvananthapuram district. His units make sculptures, hollow bricks, statues and figurines for gardens. Around 120 people were working under him earlier. He took a `1-crore loan from IDBI Bank’s Karamana branch and managed to do roaring business until the pandemic hit.

“Covid-19 has hit my business so badly that I have been unable to repay `1.24 lakh plus interest to the bank. Currently, construction work has come to a standstill. Only interlock tile works are happening these days. I am paying my remaining labourers their wages so that they don’t go elsewhere seeking other jobs,” said Uthamadas to TNIE.

Earlier, he used to undertake decoration work on film and television serial sets. Since shooting works are yet to resume in full swing, it has also been a double blow to Uthamadas. There are several building contractors who owe him close to `8 lakh for the earlier works he had done. But they are also having a hard time now.

He thought of selling some of his plots of land which are between five and eight cents in Kalliyoor, but it has also ended on a sour note as prospective buyers are not coming forward. His wife Bindu, who was working as a teacher in a private school, has also lost her job due to the pandemic. Uthamadas is hoping that the LDF government will announce a moratorium on loans in his sector too.


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    Wish and pray for his good work to continue. God bestow him strength to with stand the sorrowful Covid pandemic.
    1 year ago reply
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