The other KGF searching for lost glory

All three have to travel 100 km to Bengaluru to their workplaces from KGF — also known as Little England — and it’s a daily affair.

Published: 01st May 2022 09:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd May 2022 07:10 PM   |  A+A-

Image used for representational purpose only. (Photo | Pexels)

KGF (KOLAR): Rid of any industry worth the name right in Bengaluru’s backyard, Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), internationally famous now with the box office hit KGF Chapter 2, has seen its population driving their children to higher education, so they can get lucrative jobs elsewhere. Sixty-five-year-old V Palani, who once worked as a labourer at Bharat Gold Mines Limited, which closed down in 2001, has two sons and a daughter, and all three of them are double-graduates, now working with private firms in Bengaluru.

All three have to travel 100 km to Bengaluru to their workplaces from KGF — also known as Little England — and it’s a daily affair. “We neither have farming lands, nor money to invest in any business. We do not have any ancestral property although we worked in the gold mines. All that we did was to give education to our children, make them self-reliant,’’ explains Palani, who points to his region which offers next to nothing for sustenance.

The two reel life sequels of the KGF movies have earned in crores (the recently released KGF Chapter 2 alone crossing Rs 1,000 crore), but people in the real KGF, despite good education, struggle to get lucrative jobs in their own region as there is nothing for them there.

Most of the households in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) reflect and echo Palani’s story. Everyday, people in thousands travel from their homes in KGF (with a population of about 2.5 lakh) travel to Bengaluru. 

Goldmine workers wait for good days to return

Most of them work as bank managers, advocates, accountants, supervisors, HRs, besides many among them working at BHEL, HAL, Railway Coach factory and other industries in Bengaluru.

After BGML shut in 2001, thousands of workers were rendered jobless in KGF. The only big industry present there is Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML), which employs people from outside of KGF, not locals. This has forced the locals to give better education to their children so they can move out in search of lucrative opportunities. And almost all prefer to return to their home in “Little England” even if they have to travel long distances.

At the tiny houses with sheet roofs at West Gilbert Block in KGFš — which were constructed as quarters for labourers — elderly people including those who used to work with BGML once upon a time, stay at home, while their children work in Bengaluru.

Karunakaran, a retired labourer of BGML has two children. While the son has completed MSc in Biotechnology, the daughter has done BE. Both work in Bengaluru.

“During the lockdown, they worked from home,’’ he says. His neighbour Ravikumar says there are at least 100 houses in West Gilbert Block, each with at least two to three graduates.

“After BGML shut, we only have BEML, which has people across the country working there. We need industries here. KGF is like Kerala, we do not just stress on literacy, but aim at higher education,’’ he added.

The couple, Sarangapani and Sheela, have two daughters. Both studied well, became double graduates — one even working at Kendriya Vidyalaya teaching high school students. “Daughters or sons, it does not matter. What matters is good education,’’ Sheela says. The KGF residents pray that the government brings their home region under the scanner to invite industries to set up shop there so their much-qualified children can get lucrative jobs within easier reach.

This is the first article in a three-part series, looking at what is wrong at the Kolar Gold Fields and what can be done



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