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'Mukesh or Anil, it is the same'

Piyush Pandey in Ahmedabad | June 20, 2005 12:16 IST

It was business as usual at the Naroda textiles division of Reliance Industries Ltd in Ahmedabad, even as the business empire was being carved out between the two brothers and Mukesh Ambani got the textile share.

For Naroda employees, what mattered most was a professional management of the textile unit and prospects of a better pay packet. The ownership of the textiles division was not a major issue for them.

The Naroda unit began with four warp-knitting machines and 68 people in 1966. One of the oldest businesses started by late Dhirubhai Ambani, the division employs over 40 per cent of the total work force of Reliance Industries Limited.

The Reliance 'ownership issue'

However, it contributes only 1 per cent to the group's turnover -- one of the main reason behind its recent restructuring and offer of voluntary retirement schemes to over thousands of employees. Hence, it really did not matter to them whether Mukesh or Anil Ambani got control of the textiles division.

"Dhirubhai laid the foundation of the Reliance empire with the textile business at Naroda, which now seems to be of little interest to the Ambani brothers, owing to the high profits and turnover derived from the other group companies. So, Anilbhai or Mukeshbhai, whoever takes control of the division, it hardly makes any difference to us. The division has the lowest salaries amongst all RIL group companies and we need pay revisions," M Modi, a Naroda textile division employee told Business Standard on Saturday.

RIL's textile complex at Naroda, is one of the country's most modern and largest in the textile sector. Its textile products are sold under the brand names of Vimal, Harmony, Reance, RueRel, and Slumberel.

V Gandhi, deputy general manager, legal department, RIL textile division, said, "To enhance competitiveness, Reliance undertook a comprehensive restructuring of its textile business," he said.

The rationalisation led to a reduction in the total workforce by over 4,600 people. "The post-restructuring operations have now been stabilised, and the ownership factor will not have any significant impact," Gandhi said.

"The textile business would now be controlled by Mukeshbhai. However, it would have not affected us even if it was managed by Anilbhai, so long as it was professionally managed," another worker at the RIL textile division said.

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