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Men who matter


M. Venkata Rao

The scion of an upper middle agrarian family from a nondescript village in West Godavari district, Muppana Venkata Rao, moved to the 'City of Destiny' in 1962 to try his luck in business and to give his children a city-based life and education.

"I believe that every child deserves a good education from a decent institute, as it would be the foundation for the life ahead. And that was one of the reasons why I moved to this city lock, stock and barrel. It was only after admitting my children in good schools that I started off as a civil contractor. Initially I concentrated in Government projects confined within the State only," recalls Mr. Venkata Rao.

The firm that he floated four decades ago with ten persons today employs over 400 of whom 160 are engineers. "Totally we employ over 5,000 in different sites after taking casual and contract workers into account," says he.

From the very beginning Mr. Venkata Rao was fascinated by building bridges and today he is considered an expert in this segment. He has got some of the main link bridges in north coastal Andhra like the Gambhiram gedda bridge, Nagavali second bridge and Icchapuram bridge to his credit.

"Right now we are building the longest flyover in the country: the 4.85 km. flyover from Chavulamadam to Naval Dockyard. We have been awarded the Rs.90 crore turnkey project."

Apart from constructing bridges and buildings, Mr. Venkata Rao shares the credit of being part of the expansion programmes of a few airports in the country. "In a nationwide competitive bid, we were selected to undertake the ongoing expansion project of Goa and Visakhapatnam airports," he says.

From a mere annual turnover of Rs.5 lakhs his company today grosses a yield of over Rs.150 crores a year, and he says that his works on hand exceed Rs.500 crores. "The growth was gradual over the years. There is no significant event that really catapulted me to the top. Hours of dedicated toil without losing sight of the goal got me where I am today. The other things that have given me visibility in the industry are quality and time-bound execution," he avers. He was conferred the best contractor award by the then President, Giani Zail Singh.

Foray into politics

He nurtured a political ambition from the beginning of his career and N.T. Rama Rao's launching of the Telugu Desam Party, enabled Mr. Venkata Rao to fulfil that desire. He is an active TDP member.

His love for schools and colleges impelled him to start an educational institution in Gajuwaka. The MVR Educational Institution that he founded a couple of years ago today has a combined strength of over 2,500 students in its junior, degree and post-graduate colleges. Apart from being the chairman of MVR College and Kakatiya Educational and Cultural Society he is the chairman of Cable Vision, a local TV channel.

He is in love with this city and proposes to set up a pharmaceutical industry in collaboration with some US firm in the near future. "This city is great in all respects right from its friendly people to its scenic beauty. The only thing that is lacking at present is the air connectivity. But very shortly even that would be sorted out, as the expansion programme of the airport is in full swing and then this city would reach its zenith," opines he.

S.B.

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