We have zoomed past those gigantic black & white television sets from the Doordarshan days and are now in the age of ultra slim LEDs. But till date whenever a new television set comes home we welcome it in our own traditional ways. Not before applying that sacred tilak do we switch it on. It may sound a little sanctimonious but this is the value we give to a television. Irrespective of the brand/ model we love our TVs unconditionally. Why not? This is the thing every house wife has an extra-marital affair with. This is the best friend of every other teenager who has difficulty in finding friends. This is the thing students miss the most during their hostel lives. This, my friend, is the place of the idiot box in our lives.
Now, when we recall some of the famous television-producing brands we come across the Samsungs, the Panasonics and the LGs. Konark Television, anyone?
Konark Television, a common household name during the yesteryears, was the number one Television brand. It started as a regional television manufacturer operating out of Bhubaneswar in 1973. O’ yes, you heard it right. It was KONARK TELEVISION LTD. an Odisha based company that had ruled the television market scenario all over the country a few decades ago. Besides being par excellence in delivering quality, its prices were the USP.
From a meager 19 employees and a capacity of 75 television sets per year to a mammoth employee base and more than a lakh sets per year, Konark Television was the star among other companies. It brought itself and Odisha in the national focus. During the eighties and the early nineties, Konark Television Ltd, with its loyal customer and employee base, lead the industry in India and revolutionized the market. Bhubaneswar was identified as the land of Konark Television and Odias as the mothers and fathers of this revolution. Alright, the last bit was a little exaggerated, but you got the point, didn’t you?
So now, where is it? Unfortunately, Konark Television could not maintain its profitability for a long time. After ruling the markets for almost a decade, the conditions started deteriorating in the late-nineties. The markets became fiercer post liberalization and the battle turned murkier. The organization failed to maintain the sales. Private companies came into the scene and snatched away all the customers. The company was immersed in gargantuan debts and the government was too adamant to lend a hand. Thus, the hapless Konark Television Ltd. came to a dead end and could not make its way out of it.
Poor management and lack of government support proved fatal for this local-turned-national hero. Many of its employees quit. The salaries of hundreds of employees had been due for more than a decade. Some of its employees died due to abject poverty and others have been doing rounds of court since then. It had evolved from scratch, and little did anyone know, that it was destined to be back at square one.
Konark television was an example for its dominance in the industry and its popularity among the country-men and many existing companies had eyes on this company for a merger. After the slide and the death-blow, Konark Television Ltd remains an example rather a case-study albeit a negative one. A quick search on this company won’t tell you much about its heydays but about ‘how ruthlessly did it meet its brusque end’ and ‘how mismanagement throttled a rising star’. Mark Antony was so damn right,
“The evil that men do, lives after them; The good, is oft-interred with their bones”
Story by- Sourav Panda.
Sourav is an Intern with The Broken Scooter in the summers and a
polar-bear researcher in Antarctica for the winters! 😉