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From Jharkhand to Singapore, Chandradev Sharma's fairytale journey

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He reached Chennai in search of a job and became a waiter in a restaurant. He worked hard with dedication and gradually became the restaurant manager. And today, he owns four restaurants in Singapore, which employ about 250 employees. He is now working on a plan to open a chain of 100 restaurants in different countries.

This motivating journey of struggle and entrepreneurship of Chandradev Kumar Sharma, who hails from an extremely backward and Maoist-affected Churchu block under Hazaribagh district of Jharkhand, spans a total of 15 years.

Chandradev shared his story with Ajit Weekly News. He said that because of his family’s poor financial condition, he started distributing newspapers at the age of 15-16. In those days the undeclared rule of the Maoists was prevailing in their village and the surrounding areas. He used to give news and information of the area to a newspaper office in Hazaribagh district headquarters. Due to this people also started recognising him as a reporter in the rural areas.

Once a Maoist commander got angry over one of his news reports and he (Sharma) started receiving threats, the family members got scared and that’s when he decided to leave his village. He had only Rs 1,500, given by his father, in his pocket. This was in 2004.

After leaving home, he reached Mumbai. There he got a job as a waiter in a restaurant for Rs 700 a month. Then he moved to Chennai, where he again took the job of a waiter in a big restaurant of Oriental Cuisine Pvt Ltd at a slightly higher salary.

During the year and a half, the company’s director Mahadevan got very impressed with Chandradev’s dedication, hard work and honesty. In those days, the company decided to open a restaurant in Singapore. Mahadevan sent some people, including Chandradev to Singapore. There also, Chandradev started working as a waiter, but his salary increased to Rs 30,000. After a few months, seeing his efficiency, he was made the manager of the restaurant.

Impressed by his behaviour, a frequent customer of the restaurant offered Chandradev to open a new restaurant in partnership. By that time Chandradev had saved about Rs 3 lakh from his salary money. The estimated cost of opening the restaurant was Rs 50 lakh. The person offering the partnership said that even if he invests Rs 6 lakh, he will make him a partner in the restaurant. Chandradev raised the money by borrowing from friends and then opened the first restaurant — Tandoori Culture — in partnership in 2011.

Chandradev did not leave the job of Oriental Cuisine even after opening his restaurant. He worked there during the day and at his restaurant at night. Within a year, his restaurant got established and made a profit of about Rs 50 lakh.

In 2013, another restaurant with a capacity of 70 people with the same name was opened by him on a partnership basis. Chandradev said that as per the rules of Singapore, a person who is not a citizen there is only allowed to do business in partnership with a local citizen.

In the year 2020, on February 28 and 29, on two consecutive days, he opened two different restaurants, namely ‘Tandoori Zaika’ and ‘Salaam Mumbai’.

According to him, today his business’ worth is over Rs 15 crore. About 250 people work in these four restaurants, of which about 30 people are Indians. This is because according to Singapore rules, only one out of every seven workers in a company can be a non-citizen of Singapore.

Even after coming a long way, Chandradev has not given up on his roots. These days he is in his village. He says that every person has a debt and duty towards his soil. That’s why he has opened an inter college in Churchu this year. It is his endeavour that the students enrolled there should get almost free education. Symbolically, a nominal fee has been fixed. He wants that even though his education could not be proper, the children of the area should get good higher education and have a better future.

–Ajit Weekly News<br>snc/shs/dpb

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