Mr Arun Kumar Ghosh considers his customers as god and always look to serve them with better service quality and safety, keeping this thing in mind he expanded Shyamoli Paribahan from a small logistics business to a full-fledged travel company.
Mr Arun Kumar felt grateful to talk about his passion to serve humanity and his dream to build Shyamoli into a good travel partner and without any odds success doesn’t turn up.
Let’s know the growth journey from the man himself!
Q. You had started working even before you completed graduation. So was that always your dream to enter the transport sector and what’s your future plan?
A. I had a passion to do something on my own since childhood. I always believed that if I will get into the logistics/transportation business, I will be able to serve humanity and feel happy about it. Along with that, I also love to go on pilgrimage, to temples. Yes, this has been my passion.
Q. How did you start your logistics business?
A. Being involved in my father's logistics business from a very young age, I always had an interest in it. We expanded it into passenger transport and both were running smoothly and were successful. Soon after while I was studying, I asked my father to buy me 2 trucks. And with time the business grew to 15-20 vehicles. We got the National Permit to launch our services all over India, like Bombay, Gujarat, and Assam. Along with this, we thought If we run passenger carriers, both will do good.
With time I saw that the passenger business is better, and I had more interest in that. So then we thought to make it bigger by bringing in foreign vehicles such as Volvo and Scania, Sweden made as those were the premium segment vehicles in India at that time. As these were foreign vehicles, getting spare parts, maintenance, arranging finance, etc. were challenging but with god’s grace these got resolved.
These were a new kind of vehicle, we went door to door and explained to customers about the vehicles, how it runs, why is it priced so much, how comfortable it is and much more. Slowly passengers experienced that if taking a long journey in these vehicles, they are well rested to get to work the next day.
Soon we expanded both, logistics and passenger businesses.
Q. Started with trucks and is now the owner of Sixty buses, how did it all happen?
A. See, everything that happens, happens because of god’s grace. He protects and provides for us, while we work towards our set targets. As I told you earlier, logistics and serving passengers have been my passion since childhood and with god’s blessing, I am able to pursue them.
It was challenging. First, arranging finances, then its maintenance, convincing the customers, serving them and creating a brand value of it, was all not very easy. However, with god’s grace, my family’s support and our sheer hard work, we have done this. Whenever I needed finance, my family managed and arranged it to help me keep going and grow the business.
Q. When you started a bus operations business, so must have grown step by step like acquiring the first bus, the second bus, the third one and so on. How was this journey?
A. From the start while doing my work, I was not worried about earning money or incurring losses. When I entered the bus and logistics industry, my idea was to serve humanity. For me, that’s my religion.
I have been getting positive feedback from my customers on the routes I operate. They like to travel with Shyamoli and we also want to serve them with better vehicles, and more vehicles. In some places, people didn’t know about Volvo buses. We went to those areas, conducted surveys and understood the demand for such buses. So we kept on introducing more buses and started point-to-point services.
Let’s take the case of Puri. It’s our holy place. Here train runs, flights are flying but Volvo buses were not there. Seeing it as a religious place, we started Volvo buses there. Digha is close by and it's a tourist point. In such areas, only normal buses were running. There was a demand but still difficult to understand if the route will be successful. However, with god’s grace, everything worked out. We went further, to Delhi, Malda, Siliguri, Puri, Ranchi, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Assam, Durgapur and Digha, we surveyed these routes and with customers’ demand slowly we expanded our fleet.
Q. As we know to be successful in professional life family support is very necessary. What’s the role of your family in your success?
A. I can only say that it is very important to have your family's support. If I wake up in the morning to go to a place and my family doesn’t prepare things for me, I won’t be able to go to it. I won’t be able to do that task. When I come late in the night, they wait for me. Even when in the start I needed funds, my family helped a lot. They understand when I need help to get more customers. They prepare things for me. If sometimes they get a call or a person comes to home related to work, they handle them. My family plays a big role. They have helped me a lot. Without their support, I would not have been able to run my business alone.
Q. Apart from working hard for your business, what else do you enjoy doing? Like we have heard you have a strong interest in traveling to religious places so is there any place you like to go to find peace?
A. I believe in lord Krishna. When my parents used to go to Vrindavan, Puri, I was small and studying. While waving goodbyes to the departing train. I used to be very sad as they were not taking me along. That time my father used to tell me, you will also go when you will get older. When I started going, with god’s grace, except during COVID times, I never stopped. Vrindavan, Puri, and Nabodeep are close to my heart.
If I plan to go anywhere, I first go to these places and then start my travel. Vrindavan is so close to my heart that even if I close my eyes I see every street, every road and every temple there. People know me very well there. I believe that even today god resides there. The environment and vibe of the place are very different. I find peace there.
Q. In fact we came to know that you’ve chosen the name “Shyamoli Paribahan” for the business is also related to God Krishna. Please share something about that.
A. Shyamoli is not the name of any of my family members. It is an inspiration from Lord Krishna. He has 108 names and Shyamoli is one of them. From Shyam Sundar, Shyamoli came. In fact, there was a cow, which was very dear to Lord Krishna. When he used to go from Nandgram to Barsana he didn’t travel on foot. He used to go with his very much loved cow, Shyamoli Dhamoli. He used to sit on Shyamoli, take his flute, and go to Radha Rani’s house in Barsana.
We believe that Shyamoli is God’s vehicle and with the same name, we are running our vehicles, which are being used to take my God-like passengers from one place to the other. All my passengers are like gods to me and I respect them. It is all with God’s grace, Shyamoli’s grace, and Lord Krishna’s grace. That’s why we chose this name. The customer demand we have and the brand value we have created are also because of God’s grace.
My first responsibility is to serve the customers, give them comfort, and provide complete service. That’s why we started the work and chose this name.
Q. In fact, at Prawaas 3.0 you were honored with the Safety+ award. What are the special safety measures that you take for your passengers?
A. We got the Safety+ award amongst all India bus operators. In our bus, we provide a safe journey to our passengers. Our drivers are experts in safe driving, they maintain the safe speed limit. We provide sanitiser, and masks, and maintain social distancing while taking a passenger from one place to another. We make frequent announcements about these things. Even now we are doing those things.
As we have premium segment buses, Volvo and Scania, our passengers are also premium. Keeping that in mind, we had been following safety measures even from earlier times.
To keep the passengers safe, I provide these services. For that, I have been honoured with this award at Prawaas 3.0.
Q. Where people have faith in god like you, miracles also happen frequently. Any miracle that has happened to you?
A. As we have taken birth, there are two things about it - the life that we are living now and the previous birth. Waking up in the morning, and praying to god is my everyday routine. God has sent us to the world, I say it's a miracle in itself. God has sent me to serve my customers by acquiring vehicles.
When I close my eyes, I see things, the thoughts that come into my mind, it's a power, which I get from god. The big vehicles, the sleeper buses that have come to India. We have high-definition, high-valuation vehicles. We never thought we will be able to get these vehicles to serve the customers. God gave me the power.
In 2019, I purchased a sleeper bus in West Bengal, before Corona. It was a big investment and I had thought about where will I run these costly buses. God gave me the power. When I close my eyes, he showed me the quality service I need to provide to my customers. I introduced sleeper buses in West Bengal and it is successful.
Being in the Bus industry is very challenging. Heavy rain and floods, make it very challenging. Now Corona came and pushed us 20 years back. I had certain plans to buy new buses, introduce new routes and do things in a certain way. But for the last 2 years, the complete bus industry was at a standstill. No one is moving, my plans are not working.
Big businesses face big problems and small businesses face small problems. Our bus industry has gradually grown and Corona has been the biggest challenge we faced. Bus Industry runs only when the wheels spin and during that time, the wheels were not spinning, buses were at a complete standstill. So managing and maintaining all our staff, garage, buses, charging its batteries, paying EMIs and everything was all very challenging.
Though with god’s grace, we were slowly able to come back to normal, because of these 2 years, my planning has also been pushed by 2 years. We were supposed to move forward, but we went backward. That’s okay with me. Whatever god does, we can’t do anything about that. But it was definitely challenging. All the transport owners, bus owners, the big ones, from everywhere, all had problems. But slowly with god’s blessings, we have solved it.
In my short span of life of 52 years, this is the biggest challenge we have seen. Whoever has won this challenge I would say is good.
Q. How difficult is it for today’s young generation to enter the bus industry and successfully run the business? What’s your message to them?
A: New generation can enter the bus industry, am not denying it. I don’t think it is as challenging as it was earlier. When I entered the bus industry, we had to manually write tickets at the counter. Today we have such good online portals, which can be used from anywhere to book tickets. Then the Indian roads and highways and tolls collections have all developed a lot. Now if we see, even the vehicles have developed. So, the transport business over time has changed a lot.
For the new generation, I would say that they can definitely come into the business. And looking at the transformed laws of the Indian Government, developed roads and highways and various other things, I believe today’s generation can do even better than us.
Q. What are your dreams for Shyamoli Paribahan?
A. I started Shyamoli Paribahan when I was small and I have a lot of dreams for it. Along with this, I have another business. I am into Hotel Industry as well. The name of my hotel is Hotel Samrat.
I am into logistics, buses and hotels, what’s beyond that? It can now be flights. My dream is to enter the flight business. That is something I would like to do. My dream is to go bigger in the hotel industry and start flights. My god knows about it. Lord Krishna knows about it and he knows how and when this dream will get fulfilled.
Q. Are there any people whom you would like to say thank you to for your successful journey?
A. I can only say one thing that’s my father. My father is the person behind my success. He is the one who gave me, thought me how to work, how to manage a business and grow it. He has passed away but he can still see that what he gave me, I am taking good care of it and took it ahead. So, I would really like to say thank you to my father for all the success.
The interview that you just read is much more interesting when you see the man himself talking about his journey. Do check out Shyamoli Paribahan’s Owner, Mr Arun Kumar Ghosh’s full video interview video on our YouTube Channel “The Untold Story of Bus Operators”.
Stay tuned for more such interviews!