Krishna decries shabby treatment to Narayana Murthy

March 18th, 2008 - 9:02 pm ICT by admin  


Bangalore, March 18 (IANS) Former Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna Tuesday lamented that Infosys Technologies chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy was treated shabbily by the previous two coalition governments in the state when Murthy headed the public-private consortium that built the new Bengaluru airport. The new international airport has been built at Devanahalli, about 37 km from India’s silicon hub.

“Though Murthy did whatever best in his capacity to guide the new airport project as chairman of Bangalore International Airport Ltd (BIAL) consortium, he was treated shabbily by the successive coalition governments in the state,” Krishna told reporters here at a ‘meet-the-press’ programme, a day after he returned from Mumbai to enter active politics.

Recalling his efforts to persuade Murthy to head BIAL and guide the Rs.25-billion greenfield project because of his able leadership and vast experience, Krishna said though the IT icon was pre-occupied with his enterprise and other responsibilities, he volunteered to help the state government and the consortium in building a world class airport.

“During my tenure (1999-2004) as chief minister of Karnataka, I requested, nay persuaded, Murthy to become ex-officio chairman of BIAL. He not only accepted the request gracefully, but also went out of the way to push the project against all odds. He reposed our trust and faith in his leadership. Yet, he was treated shabbily by the governments that followed,” the former Maharashtra governor noted.

A miffed Murthy had resigned from BIAL chairmanship in October 2005 after former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda questioned his contribution and blamed him for the delay in implementing the project.

In a letter to then state chief minister N. Dharam Singh October 20, 2005, Murthy said he was resigning from BIAL chairmanship in protest against Gowda’s remark that he made no contribution in the last five years to bring the airport project to fruition.

Murthy also mentioned the enormous amount of time and energy he spent in interacting with the governments in the state and New Delhi to execute the mega project.

Referring to the poor connectivity to the new airport and the crumbling infrastructure in the city, including the traffic snarls on the thoroughfares, Krishna said he was appalled by the inordinate delay in completing the various works associated with the connectivity.

“I am appalled that connectivity to the new Bangalore airport is in doldrums. I am sad. When we approved the new airport in 2001, even then we had planned the connectivity. What went wrong over the last three years? Why did not the successive governments visualise the importance or urgency of connectivity? As a result, it takes more than two hours to reach Devanahalli, while a flight to Chennai is about 45 minutes,” Krishna said.

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