In normal times, his factory would be producing thousands of bows and arrows but in a COVID-19 world, Archery Association of India secretary general Pramod Chandurkar and his staff are devoted in manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits on a war-footing.
The 56-year-old has about 30 employees on the job as they are making face masks, gloves and gowns for the frontline workers. His factory manufactures about 1000 PPE gowns, which are supplied to his friend's company for wholesale distribution. Chandurkar, who coached India team to the Asian Cup gold in 1989, also owns a company, Ruth India, which manufactures archery equipment and sportswear.
"Everyone is doing their bit to serve the country when the lockdown started. I had a full fledged stitching set-up so I thought why not use this infrastructure in making PPE gowns," Chandurkar, who participated in the 1976 National Games and the 1982 Asian Games, told PTI. "I got in touch with my friend (who is a medical kit supplier) and his company provided us the guidelines on how to make PPE gowns from plastic-laminated non-woven cloth. The raw materials are being supplied by him. We have been working non-stop since then. This is my way of serving the country in this trying times."
Ruth India (Source: Pramod Chandurkar/Facebook
His factory is about one and half kilometre from his residence and to ensure the safety of his workers, he has personally arranged accommodation for his outstation employees. "We knew we had a big task in hand. So I ensured safety for our outstation workers numbering about 15. I put them in my place and arranging their food as well. We are also following the safety protocols by maintaining a strict sanitisation programme," he said. It's not that he's busy only with the manufacturing unit but his day starts with the tough task of co-ordinating the online classes for archers and coaches that the AAI had started on April 16.
"I've to ensure that the speakers are ready and send them the guidelines well in advance. I've to constantly monitor and ensure a smooth conduct," the former India archer said. A SAI-Kolkata pass out coach, Chandurkar was posted in Shillong in the 1990s and he was working in tandem with the Army Boys Sports Company that later got disintegrated to Army Sports Institute in Pune. "It was during my Shillong days, I was intrigued with the tribal archery competitions. There would be huge gambling and all. I took the idea of manufacturing the archery equipment for Indian Round and started my company in 2000," he recalled.
Chandurkar wants to take the sport deep into the grassroots level to create a strong base. "You are looked after well after you become a national archer. But what happens to the youngsters and spotting the talents? So my objective is to prepare one trainer and coach for every village. Then only there will be a constant and healthy flow to the top. Archery will always remain my first passion," he concluded.