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'Guj CM has really impressed me'

Udit Prasanna Mukherji | TNN

B K Birla was his usual jovial self when we caught up with him recently on a Monday morning over a cup of tea. Excerpts from the interview.

How was the industrial scenario in India before independence? Also, tell us about your association with Kolkata and how it has changed over the years as a place to do business.

It was quite buoyant during the 40s. The whole world was engaged in World War II. We used to supply medicines to the British army during the war. Kolkata was commercially very prosperous just like Mumbai is today. Since Kolkata was the strategic headquarters for the Allied forces in South-East Asia, trading business was booming here along with tea and jute.

Kolkata is still my favourite city. But in last 30-40 years, Kolkata has lost its economic power. No major industry has come up during this period and a lot of companies have left the city because of frequent strikes and bandhs. It is really unfortunate. Here we get good doctors, engineers, writers but not entrepreneurs. Sometimes, I feel bad about it. Now, there is some effort to bring in industry. Only the future will tell whether it will be successful or not.

You have met stalwarts like Gandhiji and Sardar Patel and have also interacted with current politicians.

YOUNG AT HEART: B K Birla

What's your take on today's politicians?

The Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has really impressed me. I was there last year along with Kumar for a project of Century Textiles. When we approached Modi, he said you don’t have to apply, the land will be given in two days and he did that. We have already started work there. He is a very good administrator.

Kesoram, the company where you started your career, has now become the biggest company of the group. What are your plans for the company?

Kesoram has two major divisions — cement and tyre — that account for 94% turnover of the company. I am expanding both the cement and tyre businesses. This year Kesoram has touched a turnover of Rs 5,000 crore. In tyre, we are entering the radial segment, which is the future of this trade.

The company is investing over Rs 800 crore for setting up two radial facilities in Haridwar and Balasore. While the Haridwar facility will be for bus and truck radial, Balasore would be for passenger car radials. Both the facilities will be operational by the end of this fiscal. We are also investing in two cement units — Kesoram Cement and Vasavdatta Cement. The combined cement capacity of the company would cross 7 million tonne soon.

Kumar Mangalam Birla, your grandson, is already on the board of Century Textiles and this is the only company of the group which has headquartered in Mumbai. Where is the company headed? Besides, what's your vision for the other company's in the group?

We are developing real estate under this company. Our plan is to develop the closed Worli mill land into a commercial complex. There will be a hotel there as well. We have already started discussions with hospitality groups for the proposed hotel. They will run the hotel and will pay us a fee. The first phase of the project has already started. This is also the first real estate project of the group. The company has also started textile project in Gujarat.

The other companies are also doing reasonably well. We are now merging Mangalam Timber with Mangalam Cement so that Mangalam Timber can utilise the huge reserve of cement. Now, there is great opportunity in MDF (medium density fibre board) which we want to tap. Similarly, Jayshree Tea is also doing quite well. It has recently entered the sugar business by through an acquisition.

You have recently raised your holding in a lot of group companies. Is there any particular reason behind this?

There are three group companies where our holding is less than 30% or just above that like Mangalam Cement and Century Enka. I personally want to have close to 50% stake in all the group companies so that my daughters and grandchildren never face any problem. Kumar Mangalam would inherit most of my major companies. He is a great businessman and will take them to great heights. My elder daughter Jayshree will manage Jayshree Tea and ECE Industries along with her husband. My granddaughter (the daughter of Manjushree Khaitan) will manage Mangalam Cement. Manjushree is looking after the operations of a few Kolkata companies.

 

TIMES BUSINESS Saturday, October 9, 2010

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टीका उत्सव पर देशवासियों से आग्रह
April 11, 2021
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मेरे प्यारे देशवासियों,

आज 11 अप्रैल यानि ज्योतिबा फुले जयंती से हम देशवासी ‘टीका उत्सव’ की शुरुआत कर रहे हैं। ये ‘टीका उत्सव’ 14 अप्रैल यानि बाबा साहेब आंबेडकर जयंती तक चलेगा।

ये उत्सव, एक प्रकार से कोरोना के खिलाफ दूसरी बड़ी जंग की शुरुआत है। इसमें हमें Personal Hygiene के साथ ही Social Hygiene पर विशेष बल देना है।

हमें ये चार बातें, जरूर याद रखनी है।

Each One- Vaccinate One, यानि जो लोग कम पढ़े-लिखे हैं, बुजुर्ग हैं, जो स्वयं जाकर टीका नहीं लगवा सकते, उनकी मदद करें।

Each One- Treat One, यानि जिन लोगों के पास उतने साधन नहीं हैं, जिन्हें जानकारी भी कम है, उनकी कोरोना के इलाज में सहायता करें।

Each One- Save One, यानि मैं स्वयं भी मास्क पहनूं और इस तरह स्वयं को भी Save करूं और दूसरों को भी Save करूं, इस पर बल देना है।

और चौथी अहम बात, किसी को कोरोना होने की स्थिति में, ‘माइक्रो कन्टेनमेंट जोन’ बनाने का नेतृत्व समाज के लोग करें। जहां पर एक भी कोरोना का पॉजिटिव केस आया है, वहां परिवार के लोग, समाज के लोग ‘माइक्रो कन्टेनमेंट जोन’ बनाएं।

भारत जैसे सघन जनसंख्या वाले हमारे देश में कोरोना के खिलाफ लड़ाई का एक महत्वपूर्ण तरीका ‘माइक्रो कन्टेनमेंट जोन’ भी है।

एक भी पॉजिटिव केस आने पर हम सभी का जागरूक रहना, बाकी लोगों की भी टेस्टिंग कराना बहुत आवश्यक है।

इसके साथ ही जो टीका लगवाने का अधिकारी है, उसे टीका लगे, इसका पूरा प्रयास समाज को भी करना है और प्रशासन को भी।

एक भी वैक्सीन का नुकसान ना हो, हमें ये सुनिश्चित करना है। हमें जीरो वैक्सीन वेस्ट की तरफ बढ़ना है।

इस दौरान हमें देश की वैक्सीनेशन क्षमता के ऑप्टिमम यूटिलाइजेशन की तरफ बढ़ना है। ये भी हमारी कपैसिटी बढ़ाने का ही एक तरीका है।

हमारी सफलता इस बात से तय होगी कि ‘माइक्रो कन्टेनमेंट जोन’ के प्रति कितनी जागरूकता हम लोगों में है।

हमारी सफलता इस बात से तय होगी कि जब जरूरत न हो, तब हम घर से बाहर न निकलें।

हमारी सफलता इस बात पर तय होगी कि जो टीका लगवाने का अधिकारी है, उसे टीका लगे।

हमारी सफलता इस बात पर तय होगी कि हम मास्क पहनने और अन्य नियमों का किस तरह पालन करते हैं।

साथियों,

इन चार दिनो में व्यक्तिगत स्तर पर, समाज के स्तर पर और प्रशासन के स्तर पर हमें अपने-अपने लक्ष्य बनाने हैं, उन्हें प्राप्त करने के लिए पूरा प्रयास करना है।
मुझे पूरा विश्वास है, इसी तरह जनभागीदारी से, जागरूक रहते हुए, अपनी जिम्मेदारी निभाते हुए, हम एक बार फिर कोरोना को नियंत्रित करने में सफल होंगे।
याद रखिए- दवाई भी, कड़ाई भी।

धन्यवाद !

आपका,

नरेन्द्र मोदी।