Business jets make a dash for Vibrant Gujarat (Diary)By Arvind Padmanabhan, IANS
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
GANDHINAGAR - Some 35 business jets and choppers ferrying the country’s top industrialists and political leaders have descended at Ahmedabad for the Vibrant Gujarat two-day biennial conclave that started here Wednesday.
Such was the rush at the roads leading from the airport to the city that a run that takes some 15-20 minutes to mid-town Ahmedabad took around an hour. But with no jams as such, few were complaining, since the flow was smooth with police personnel well-equipped to handle the situation.
Airport authorities said Wednesday morning that they were also ready for some last-minute landing of private aircrafts - a few of them from overseas. Delegates have also been pouring in from some 60 countries, including Japan, the US, Canada, Australia and even Rwanda and Mozambique.
Rare gathering of top industrialists in such numbers
Looking at the number of India’s top industrialists who have gathered here for the two-day Vibrant Gujarat Summit, it seemed like a high-profile meeting of Who’s Who of India Inc.
Such has been Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s pull that virtually every company among the top 50 in terms of market capitalization was represented by their chiefs - many already with a presence in Gujarat and others planning nonetheless.
“Across the world, people today recognize Gujarat and Gujaratis as being synonymous with enterprise and industry. Gujarat is to India what India is - and will be - to the rest of the world,” industrialist Anil Ambani said.
Others in attendance included Ratan Tata, Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Gautam Adani, A.M. Naik, Adi Godrej, Anand Mahindra, G.M. Rao, Ajit Gulabchand, Tulsi Tanti, S. Ramdorai and Karsanbhai Patel.
Not the usual attire for Modi
For the past few days, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, often called the state’s chief executive, not just spoke business-like ahead of the two-day Vibrant Gujarat summit, but wanted to look the part as well.
Not for him, this time, his trademark round-neck band-gala or the half-sleeve, Chinese-collar short kurtis. The chief minister was, instead, spotted wearing well-cut suits, like the bespoke designer-wear associated with industrialists.
In fact, at the annual kite festival Tuesday, Modi was looking dapper with a black polo-neck cardigan, matching designer dark glasses, a light-coloured grey jacket and even a cowboy’s Stetson - he has, after all, lassoed many an investor into Gujarat.
Wednesday, though, he was back to his raw-silk Nehru jacket.
Mahatma Mandir turns into a digital city
The Mahatma Mandir complex in Gujarat capital that will showcase the life and times of Gandhi turned into a virtual city for the Vibrant Gujarat conclave with streaming shows, 40-feet video walls, wi-fi connectivity and a well-equipped business centre.
An attraction here is a third-dimensional walk-through that seeks to project the future cities of the state, as also a peek into the past with speeches and exhibits of Gandhi.
Spread over 34 acres, it has been nurtured by bringing soil and water from all the 18,000-odd villages and 159 towns of the state and will serve as a symbol of peace and tranquility as professed by Gandhi, officials said.
“This is a temple that will remind mankind of the power of a pinch of salt and re-establish the strength of self-reliance of the spinning wheel,” Chief Minister Narendra Modi said, alluding to the person in whose memory the temple of peace is being build.
(Arvind Padmanabhan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)