Factory Head with a swindling brain
Thiagu was a Junior Factory officer on a tea estate in the
Nawalapitya district. One Sunday he was going through the vacancy column
in a paper and there was a vacancy for a senior factory officer on an
estate in the Rakwana district. He applied and was called for an
interview. He fared well in the interview and was offered the post.
When he reported for work the Factory Officer (FO) introduced him to
the factory workers as the new Senior Assistant.
While working, Thiagu noted that the Factory officer was moving
freely with the workers and joking with the women workers.
The FO instructed Thiagu to supervise the Rolling Room and the
withering leaf in the loft. He was barred from entering the sifting room
where the teas are sifted and graded.
One day the Junior officer who used to weigh the green leaf brought
to the factory was absent.
The FO instructed Thiagu to weigh the leaf and deduct six pounds from
each basket. Usually only four pounds are deducted for a basket for the
weight of the basket and coarse leaf. Thiagu was sorry for the workers
who toiled the whole day and were hit below the belt. But he did as was
Thiagu was a senior factory officer only for name sake. It was the
senior factory officer who enters figures in the Tea Book but here it
was the other way. The tea book was maintained by the FO.
The tea book has several columns to mark the total weight of the
green leaf taken in, the weight of the withered leaf, the weight of the
dried tea, weight of each graded tea, weight of the tea sent to Colombo
and the weight of the Refuse tea. Teas in each bin is also accounted
for. The FO was very careful that Thiagu didn't have access to such
One day the FO went on leave. Before going he told Thiagu to weigh
the green leaf and jot it on a piece of paper and when he (FO) returns
he will enter it in the Tea Book.
In the absence of the FO Thiagu opened the three feet long Tea Book
for the first time although he was here for the last six months.
In the evening Thiagu sent Velu to his quarters to bring a cup of
tea. Velu is the only worker who moved closely with Thiagu.
Sipping the tea Thiagu inquired from Velu why the FO deducts six
pounds from a worker when it should be only four pounds. Velu came out
with the secret.
He told Thiagu that the excess two pounds is manufactured separately,
packed in separate boxes and sent to Colombo along with the invoiced
teas. This is done by Angamuthu employed in the sifting room. He is FO's
man, Velu said.
Thiagu went through the Tea Book again. He noticed the entry was only
for the deduction of four pounds and not for six pounds. He realized how
the FO is playing out the estate.
The superintendent was a gentleman. He was from a respected and rich
family in Colombo. He will not tolerate lying and stealing. But he
relied on the teamaker. The FO when he sees the superintendent will put
thousand salutes and behave as a slave. When the boss takes three days'
leave he would sign the blank invoices for the FO to dispatch the made
tea to Colombo. He never suspected the FO. The FO made use of such
opportunities for his sordid work.
Thiagu inquired from Velu what the FO was doing with the money thus
Velu replied that the FO has a house in Colombo. His children are
sent to reputed schools. To repair his house he sends cement and paint
tins from the factory stores. Even factory workers are sent to Colombo
to work in his bungalow on estate names. The FO was a good drinker. The
chief clerk and the field officer are all in his hands. Once a week he
will throw a party to them. He used to give drinks to his henchmen in
the factory also. Even Velu has taken a drink from the FO. The excess
two pounds of tea deducted from the tea pluckers is the cause for all
such extravagance, Velu lectured.
After hearing all what Velu said Thiagu felt his blood boiling. He
wanted to teach a good lesson to the FO who deceived everybody including
the superintendent, involved in daytime robbery.
Velu is also one of the workers who loaded tea chests into the lorry
to be dispatched to Colombo. The completed invoice was kept on the
table. Thiagu who entered the factory office for something noted the
invoice. The invoice showed 80 chests to be sent to Colombo. He
instructed Velu to tell him how many chests were loaded that day. Velu
In the evening Thiagu went home after work. The FO's bungalow was
close to the factory while Thiagu' was little further away. It was about
8.00 p.m. He heard the lorry coming and chests were being loaded. He was
waiting for Velu. At about 9 p.m. Velu knocked at the door. Thiagu asked
as to how many chests were loaded and Velu replied 100.
Thiagu realized that 20 more chests have been dispatched. Thiagu said
'Velu, we both run our families because of this estate. If the estate is
destroyed we will also be destroyed. We could have built four or five
new lines to the workers out of the money plundered by this factory
officer all these years. I have made a decision. Would you help me?" he
"I am ready to do anything for you" replied Velu.
"Then come with me to the superintendent's bungalow. How far the
lorry would have gone now?" Thiagu asked. "The lorry would have reached
Rakwana town by now," said Velu.
With the help of a torchlight they hurried to the superintendent's
bungalow. The dogs started barking hearing their footsteps. Luckily they
were inside the Bungalow. The watcher came running to the spot. The
superintendent opened the window and when he saw Thiagu he asked "What
Thiagu? Is anything urgent?"
Thiagu told his boss what had taken place.The boss immediately
telephoned the Kahawatta police, gave them the lorry number and
instructed them to stop the lorry, count the chests and inform him.
After a lapse of half an hour the OIC rang back and informed there
were 100 chests but the invoice showed only 80.
The superintendent instructed the police to arrest the driver and the
cleaner along with the lorry and the factory officer and produce them in
the court. The same night the police came and arrested the factory
Now Thiagu is the Head Factory Officer and Velu is the sifting Room