'Andhra Sugars': Free India's first industry turns 75; employees recall contribution

"We were never treated like employees but as family members. Even a driver or a worker was greeted every day, and asked about their needs", said one of the retired employees of Andhra Sugars.

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  12 Aug 2022 8:02 AM GMT
Andhra Sugars: Free Indias first industry turns 75; employees recall contribution

West Godavari: It was a melange of emotions when retired employees of Andhra Sugars met to celebrate the 75th foundation day of free India's first company. The company was established on August 11, 1947, four days before India got freedom.

Founded by chairman Pendyala Sri Ramachandra Venkata Krishna Ranga Rao, and CMD Mullapadu Harischandra Prasad, Andhra Sugars Limited has a long history and contribution to the industrial development of India and Andhra Pradesh.

Where did it start?

When the majority of the industries were located in Bombay, Harischandra Prasad decided to set up Andhra Sugars in Tanuku, to give employment to the locals. Started operations at Tanuku with a 600 Tons of Cane per Day (TCD) Sugar Plant in 1952, it gave employment to 10,000 employees in Godavari districts.

It was later expanded and new plants were set up at Taduvai, Bhimadole with a total crushing capacity of 16,000 TCD. Harischandra Prasad, CMD of Andhra Sugars Group was popularly known as 'Andhra Birla' for setting up the first industry in Independent India.

First aspirin factory

Andhra Sugars was the first Indian company to develop indigenous technology for the manufacture of Aspirin factory in India and entered into commercial production in 1980. It also created a rocket fuel unit that was supplied to the Indian Space Research Organisation.

It contributes to a major share of the quantum of aspirin produced in India and is being exported to the USA, and UK. "Some of our products have become the bedrock for the Bulk Drugs and Pharmaceutical Industry in our Country. All this has been possible with the vision, foresight, and hard work of our founders, whose contribution had transformed our company into a business conglomerate, having an annual turnover of Rs.1,217 crores", said Chairman & Managing Director P Narendranath Chowdary.

"We have taken the development of the Agricultural Region establishing an Agri Industrial Region for the betterment of rural areas. Also contributed in setting up Educational, Cultural and Healthcare Institutions", he added.

Andhra Sugars group expanded its business by setting up a fertilizer plant in Kovvur in 1960. To cater to the needs of the farmers, they set up a plant for the manufacture of Superphosphate fertilizer at Kovvur. Subsequently, it was diversified into the production of Molasses based Industrial Alcohol, Organic and Inorganic Chemicals, Bulk Drugs, Rocket Propellants, and Generation of Wind Energy, Solar Power & Thermal Power. The group has adopted the eco-friendly and mercury-free Membrane Cell Technology of UHDE, Germany for the production of Caustic Soda and Chlorine. Also adopted 'Alfalaval's BIOSTIL' continuous fermentation technology in our Distillery and Molecular Sieve Dehydration technology of Katzen International for the production of Absolute alcohol.

First whole cane diffuser

Commissioned the Sugar plant in Taduvai in 1997, it was the first on the Indian sub-continent to set up a whole cane diffuser and the only cane sugar plant in the world producing pharmaceutical quality sugar in a regular plantation white sugar plant.

Memories down the lane

Going back to the place where they first worked, and meeting their colleagues, hundreds of retired employees had a memorable time. The retired employees who came along with their families were felicitated.

"Andhra Sugars are our first family, and our relationship continues. We were never treated like employees but as family members. Even a driver or a worker was greeted every day, and asked about their needs", said one of the retired employees of Andhra Sugars.

"Like said Rome was not built in one day, Andhra Sugars was not just a one-day achievement. I joined in May 1967, when I was interviewed by Mullapadu Harischandra Prasad. He looked ferocious like a tiger but was very kind-hearted. I took an extension of my job and retired in 2017. It is a happy day to share our good old times with my friends", said V Uday Bhaskar, a retired employee of Andhra Sugars.

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