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Men who matter


B. Prabhat Kumar

He pioneered the apartment construction business with the vision of providing a roof to the middle class at an affordable cost. Today he is a contented man after completing over 24 projects of various sizes in the city, ranging from 12 apartments building to 80 flats complex.

Meet B. Prabhat Kumar, the man who took the bold step of venturing into the apartment business two decades ago. His 'Prince Apartments' is a household name.

"To be a trailblazer is no easy achievement. It is true that early bird catches the worm but at the same time it is the same bird that faces the uphill task of clearing all the problems in the way for others to follow. I had to wait for over one year after completing my first venture to get my first booking. It was an advance of Rs.100 from a relative of mine. The city was new to apartment culture and I had a tough time in getting the message across to the people," he recalls.

Hailing from Bapatla in Guntur district, Mr. Prabhat Kumar worked as a lecturer at VRS College in Chirala for a brief period after completing his triple post-graduation in economics, public administration and law from Nagpur University.

In the early 1960s he forayed into contracts and in a short time became a leading contractor for the Central Public Works Department.

Migration to Vizag

"I moved to this city mainly for the reason that I was awarded the construction work for the present administrative building of Visakhapatnam Port Trust. I fell in love with this city instantly and seeing the growth potential I settled down here. I quit government contracts in 1982 and forayed into the apartment business with the vision of providing living space to the middle class segment. To make it affordable I have always priced 10 per cent below the market rate on any given date, without compromising on the quality," says he.

Foray into spiritualism

"I have been a devotee of Sri Satya Sai Baba for a couple of decades but one incident changed my life. I always nurtured a dream of constructing a vaidyalayam (hospital), a vidyalayam (educational institution) and a devalayam (temple) under one roof. The opportunity dropped on my lap in the shape of Satya Sai School in MVP Colony. I was given the task of constructing the school. The project cost was around Rs.45 lakhs and the cash on hand was only Rs.10,000. It was a miracle! We completed the project despite all hindrances in nine months. That experience reinforced my faith in the Lord and here I am today leading a contented and peaceful life."

After a splendid rise in business and holding the fort for over two decades, Mr. Prabhat Kumar has withdrawn from public life since 1992 leaving the business to his son. Today he and his wife reside at Harmony, an ashram which is developing a planetary healing centre. Harmony has been built by him on the seashore en route to Rishikonda.

Though he has opted for retirement from business he is still a name to reckon with in the apartment business and his Prince Apartments enjoy a solid brand loyalty till date.

S.B.

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