Your passion will lead you to your purpose

| 8 min read | 8 min read
Sanjay Khemka is a tall, soft spoken man. One would mistake him to be an academician or a researcher. Under his calm demeanour is a man who is highly enthusiastic and with a steely resolve to do everything that he is passionate about. He dabbles in hospitality, real estate and dealerships, while his passion was, is and always will be mining. He is also a keen Rotarian. In conversation with Mr. Sanjay Khemka, Managing Director, Sanjay Udyog Pvt. Ltd., a company specializing in coal handling and mining in Dhanbad.
Your passion will lead you to your purpose

“I chose a Volvo because of its dependability. It’s been 3 and a half years now, and it has delivered a high level of performance. With prescribed maintenance the availability of a Volvo Tipper is almost 95%, which is very high when compared to other tippers.”


Did you know your calling? Does anyone remember what they wanted from life when in the 9th grade? A young lad of 16 in Dhanbad apparently did and began his tryst with mining. So passionate was he about mining that in a span of two critical years of high school, he changed his school thrice, just to be near the mining sites where all the action was happening. He would visit the site after school travelling in local trains, auto rickshaws or even sharing a scooter and then go back home once the mines had finished loading for the day.

In 1945, the Khemka family came from Burma on a boat with whatever life savings they had. His father Mr. Shivkumar Khemka began working with a partner in the loading business in mines. He strived to make a mark in the industry and grew slowly and steadily. The business partner had a pay loader which he could not maintain. So young Sanjay offered to take over that machine to make it work. In 1986 the 16-year old took over the pay loader, which was so badly maintained that it took him 3 years to actually put it to work.

Integrity lessons early in the day. A whimsical Sanjay Khemka reminisces of his early days as he narrates about the time when he managed to get some out of turn loading done with his pay loader. He earned some money and proudly came and told his father of his achievements. His dad asked him, how much money will you find in a rich man’s house? Sanjay said lots of money. His father told him, “if stealing is what you want to do, then go rob people. Don’t do business”. The ethics of running a legal entity was ingrained into the young boy at a very early stage. Till this day the values instilled are followed to the end. He says “this is a business where you get so many opportunities to misuse power, resources etc., but we are struggling because we have decided to walk the straight line”. We have a coke oven plant which is not operating because we do not have a legal linkage of coal.”

Life is all about giving it back to the society. The Khemkas are one of the well-known social workers in Dhanbad. From setting up dialysis centers in Dhanbad, to adopting hospitals, to building a school for children with special needs, they are large hearted when it comes to societal responsibilities. Mr. Sanjay Khemka, a keen Rotarian himself is now supporting a number of social causes in Dhanbad and was adjudged the best District Governor in Eastern India for empowering over 1000 women with sewing machines, building toilets in rural Bihar & Jharkhand and initiating eye hospitals and dialysis centres.

Testing waters in coal handling. In 1992 Sanjay Khemka forayed into coal handling and in 2005 he worked on a contract for coal production for Dhansar Engineering. This was the beginning of his journey with Volvo Tippers. To execute a contract for Dhansar Engineering, Sanjay Khemka invested in the first 5 Volvo Tippers to operate in ISCO mines. For 8 years he worked as a sub-contractor and never really saw success. So he took a sabbatical to introspect what was going wrong.

Running on his own steam and Volvo. It then dawned on him that it would be better if he were to pitch for direct contracts, because the companies he worked for were giving him work in old mines and he was working on someone else’s policies. He managed to get a foothold into BCCL and today is the major company which responsible for their coal handling. The organization was honoured for their services as the ‘most dependable transport agency for coal handling’. In 2014, he decided to invest in three 33 Cu.m coal body going against the advice of all the naysayers, who felt it was too expensive a proposition and did not make business sense. “I like to experiment with coal and understand how to increase the productivity and efficiency and so I ended up buying the 3 coal body tippers.”

I chose a Volvo because of its dependability. It’s been 3.5 years now, and it has delivered a high level of performance. With the prescribed maintenance the availability of a Volvo Tipper is almost 95%, which is very high when compared to other tippers. The cost per ton is much lower with the 33 Cu.m even though the wages of the drivers have gone up as per the Coal India norms. For any future needs in mining, Volvo would be my first choice.”

It’s all about family. Mr. Shivkumar Khemka’s, his father, instilled strong family values and bonding. The two brothers Sanjay and Ajay live happily in a joint family. Their children who have finished their education are now being groomed into the next generation entrepreneurs and others are studying to become successful entrepreneurs. “We don’t have plans of expanding outside Dhanbad, because my father believes that no business is worth it if you cannot come home to the dinner table, and we respect that”.