December 4, 2015 – Today’s adventure has taken us to Bhuj in the Gujarat region near the border with Pakistan. Why are 100 or so farm, tire, mining and construction trade journalists out here, you might be wondering? We spent the day touring the newest plant of BKT Tires, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of off-highway tires. The plant tour itself was a No Photos Zone but everything else was fair game.
Our chartered Jet Airways flight landed at Bhuj airport.
It’s a small, sleepy terminal where they likely don’t see this much excitement very often!
Cows are sacred in India – and we saw them freely roam the roads as we made our way from the airport to the BKT factory. Not sure what exactly they eat or drink (as someone who works in food and farming, these are the kinds of questions I would think about!) but they were everywhere.
Our travels from the airport to the plant caused quite a stir with local people stopping and lining the roadway to watch us – three or four SUVs with fluttering flags for company VIPs followed by four tour buses of foreign journalists.
One of the entryways to the plant.
BKT makes all sorts of off-highway tires from small ATVs to farm equipment to large dump trucks used in open pit mines.
As we arrived at the plant, we were greeted by an Indian military band – in plaid playing bagpipes!
The plant has a test track out front where all tire innovations are tested before they move into production.
Housing is included for workers as part of their compensation – there is room for 406 families and 109 bachelors in buildings like these. The compound also has its own fire station, ambulance and medical facility, shopping area and gym. In addition to building all of this infrastructure, the company also had to build a pipeline to bring in water and power lines to bring electricity to the area.