T.M.Subramani was an ICS officer who was handpicked by Pt.Nehru to bring out a public sector unit called Neyveli Lignite Corporation. An officer of the highest integrity known to man kind ( most of the ICS officers were men of integrity ), Mani was a chronic asthmatic. He didn’t have a place to stay in Neyveli – the township was still being built then – and had to travel from Madras to Neyveli to oversee the mine excavations.
He was not an engineer but educated himself in the nuances of Mining Engineering and was physically present when the Lignite Mine 1 was being excavated. The giant bucket-wheel excavators had to come from Hungary / Germany and the then USSR. Under Mani’s stewardship, the machine was dismantled in Madras, transported in huge container lorries to Neyveli and then re-assembled.
Having been associated with Neyveli since the days of Neyveli Investigations when he was following up on the excavations in Neyveli to ascertain that the coal like substance was indeed Lignite, Mani was asked to head the Corporation once it was confirmed that the coal like substance was indeed Lignite. He considered Neyveli as his child and ensured that it got all his attention, at all times of the day.
Being a workaholic, he spent all his non-sleeping hours in the Mining areas ( He, like Panditji, slept for a few hours per day). And that exacerbated his asthmatic condition. Employees who worked under him dreaded his presence as he was known to stay in office until the wee hours of the night.
As a man who paid attention to detail, he took great care in the design of the township for employees. He insisted on a movie theatre as he didn’t want the employees to travel all the way to Chidambaram to watch movies and turn up tired for work, the next day.
Once NLC stabilised, he was advised to take rest in Mumbai where his asthma worsened and he died before being brought to Chennai. His mortal remains were brought to Neyveli for the employees to pay their respects.
Much of what Neyveli is today, is due to T.M.S.Mani. The rest is due to Panditji, RV and Kamaraj.
The road that ran adjacent to our house in Neyveli was named after him many years after his death.
T.M.S. Mani didn’t leave any wealth for his family, not even a house.