Wednesday, January 20, 2010

He pins his hopes on people to create a futuristic city

He pins his hopes on people to create a futuristic city

NICE chief says he is sad to see the greed and corruption of politicians; crusader says project deal was violated time and again

PK Surendran



Ashok Kheny
NICE chairman
If the pledged land and the tax benefits according to the framework agreement are given, I can complete the whole project in 19 months. Our work is going fast, and mercifully, I am through the worst part -- Bangalore -- where many political bigwigs have benami lands.
The remaining route is not beset with as much problems, and I have people en route coming to me saying they want to give their land because the project will benefit them in many ways.
The work of the peripheral road and link road is over, and we've crossed the most troublesome area. Now we can move faster. The main reason for work to drag on was because the government released land in bits and pieces and such project needed huge stretch in continuation, not in fragments.
First the government of the day dragged on allotting land. They wasted precious five years.
Do I regret? Yes, I regret getting into such a massive work without realising a lot of people exercising power in our country are deceitful and corrupt. They give sermons in the day and steal at night. I wanted to make a futuristic city with the best amenities we have never seen before. Like Nehru helped create Chandigarh, I wanted to give the children of Karnataka something they could be proud of. And my two sons tell me not to give up since I am doing something for children.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had invited me. I had a call from Rajasthan government too. I have forgotten how many others had asked me to help them build infrastructure. But I came to Bangalore believing my native state must get my first project.
If I wanted to make money, I'd the best chance in the US. After all, I proved myself and earned plaudits from no less a person than the then US president Ronald Reagan. Why should I come and struggle with these politicians back home?
You ask am I sad and withdrawn now? Yes, I'm both sad and glad. Sad, seeing the crass greed and corruption among those wielding power, and glad, because the silent majority, the people, are still simple and good.

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