Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'm nobody's broker: Gopinath

I'm nobody's broker: Gopinath

Captain's exit is likely to affect industry's efforts to have a say in governance

Monica Jha. Bangalore



Captain Gopinath, pioneer of low-cost airlines, exited as head of the Vision Group for the infrastructure development of Bangalore in an ignominious manner. There is speculation that ripples from that abrupt severance of ties might affect future ties between industry and government.
The present government has stressed the need for coordination between industry and government in the implementation of development work in the state. Insiders in the private sector contend that the manner in which the Captain was shown the door might adversely impact other things, besides the proposed High-Speed Rail Link (HSRL) to the Bengaluru International Airport, which had become the bone of contention.
Captain Gopinath had held that he had based his opinion that the HSRL would be beneficial to the city on the inputs he had received from a report submitted by a government-appointed consultant. He had earlier said that if the Agenda for Bangalore Infrastructure Development (ABIDe) had felt that the HSRL was not feasible, the state might not have needed to spend nearly Rs9 crore to commission the consultant's study.
Captain Gopinath told DNA: "I am nobody's broker. I am my own man. Why should an independent person from the industry be unnecessarily caught in petty politics? I had thought that instead of being cynical, I could help, and also learn a lot about the processes followed in government. I was rejected not for any of the work I did, or for work I did not do—the decision was based on political considerations."
The government reportedly issued a notification mentioning that Gopinath would no longer be part of the Vision Group. Gopinath, however, awaits official communication in the matter from the government. The issue of Gopinath's removal was thus a bolt from the blue for the Captain.
Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa had, on September 11, 2008, invited Gopinath to be a member of the Vision Group given his "notable achievements in the field of development administration and vast experience". Gopinath was nominated as the chairman of the Vision Group on Infrastructure and Industrial Development.
Pankaj Chandra, member, Vision Group and director, IIM-B, said, "These are advisory positions, and people are free to give advice. And such advice must be independent. The government is free to either accept or reject such advice. However, it cannot expect people in these positions to say what it wants to hear. That would mean that there is no point in having a team of experts."

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