Recent news about the economy has been unsettling, to be sure- but the entire last decade has also seen a steady decline in manufacturing jobs locally, particularly within the city itself. In a welcome reversal of fortune, Mayor Joseph Wilders will announce today that Nihar Products Limited (NPL), the world’s fifth leading manufacturer of buttons, eyelets and aglets has officially signed a deal to move its largest factory to the old McKennick Screw Works building on Industrial Boulevard and relocate its U.S. headquarters to the Chandler Building downtown. The addition of NPL to the local manufacturing community had been the subject of insistent rumor ever since Mayor Wilders “vacation” to southern India last winter.
NPL was founded in Bangalore, India in 1971, but in recent years has found itself competing for office and warehouse space against a tidal wave of software and telecommunications companies, filling every unoccupied piece of commercial real estate in the Indian state of Karnataka with technical support phone banks. Unable to expand in their home region to meet the needs of a growing number of contracts and a thriving clientele, Nihar dispatched representatives to scout six municipalities around the world, including Dibrugarh (India), Shanghai (China), Hamburg (Germany), Manchester (England), and Zevenaar (Netherlands), before settling on our city as their new base of operations, due partly to the current weakness of the American dollar.
Assuming immigration technicalities can be resolved, eleven executives from Bangalore will take up residence on the fortieth floor of the Chandler Building this coming December, while four Indian manufacturing supervisors will oversee operations on the south side. NPL anticipates adding only one executive position here in the city, but expects to hire as many as fifty local employees in the Industrial District. This is good news indeed for a region that has found very little to cheer about in the current economic climate.
Rumors of NPL’s impending move have also been quite a boon for Professor Aditi Sinha at Watson University, who was initially stunned to find enrollment in his adult-education night class entitled Dravidian Languages and Elementary Sanskrit unaccountably jump from an average of ten students to its current enrollment of 56 (divided into two sections). Sinha reports that slightly more than 200 people had originally applied to be included in the class, but that he was able to reduce matriculation to a more manageable number by informing potential students that the national language of India is, in fact, English.
– David Andrews