THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: When Subash Yadav and team set off from Nasik in Maharashtra in September 2019 with an aerospace autoclave to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Thiruvananthapuram, they never thought that their journey would take more than 10 months. Braving the adversities of different terrains and challenges posed by Covid-19, the team will reach the VSSC facility at Vattiyoorkavu here on Saturday.
Twenty-one-year-old Yadav and seven others are part of the team deputed by the Nasik-based Unique Chemo Plant Equipments to transport 5-metre-diametre horizontal aerospace autoclave manufactured by the private company on an extra-long truck with 64 wheels to Thiruvananthapuram. The autoclave was procured by VSSC for its Composites Entity at Vattiyoorkavu. They set out on September 1, 2019.
Yadav told TNIE that when their truck reached Panakam in Andhra Pradesh, the country went into a lockdown. When the truck, which can move at an average speed of 5-6 kmph in urban areas, was blocked by Andhra Pradesh authorities, the team got in touch with the company. They were told stay at Panakam. The stay lasted two months.
‘Local authorities refused to help us’
“We resumed our journey after obtaining special permission, but when we entered Tamil Nadu, Covid cases were spiralling out of control in there. We need the help of local authorities like police and electricity offices to streamline traffic and avoid snapping of power lines as the truck moves. When the Covid cases spiked, we were forced to halt at different places as local authorities refused to provide us support. We also had to face the ire of authorities in some places as we were coming from Maharashtra, where the Covid cases were high,” he said.
“It was only after reaching the Kerala border that we started to get good support. Initially, we were blocked as we didn’t have the entry pass. Curiously, the pass was sought only in Kerala. Later, our company intervened and arranged the pass with the help of local authorities. Our long journey will come to an end on Saturday and all members are eager to go back home.”However, the gruelling experience will not dissuade them from undertaking their next endeavour.
After a brief time with families in Nasik, they would start their second journey to VSSC with another aerospace autoclave.According to VSSC, the autoclave will be used to manufacture large and light-weight aerospace products for various space programmes. The autoclave is expected to be installed and commissioned in a month.