SANAND (AHMEDABAD): He is midnight's child, born on the day India became independent. But it has taken 61 years for Ravubha Vaghela's moment to finally arrive.
Considered the father of Sanand's industrial development, Ravubha happily sold 30 acres of prime land, at a loss to pave a road leading to the Tata plant. Believed to be the largest land-holder in Sanand, he didn't mind.
Now this banker-turned-realtor-turned-industrialist is turning king-maker and is being wooed by politicians, businessmen and land sharks alike.
On Tuesday morning, as Ravubha sat in is office overlooking the Nano plot, his cell phone didn't stop ringing. First, it was Viramgam MLA Kamabhai Rathod telling him that chief minister Narendra Modi would like to see him on Wednesday, to sort out some last remaining land issues.
Then comes a ring from the scion of the Sanand royalty, Jaishiv Sinh Vaghela, who has laid claim to a part of the plot given to Tatas. Ravubha tells him that he would settle the issue shortly.
Union minister Shankersinh Vaghela also called up, questioning him for his comment in the media that ``No Congressman in Gujarat should try and do a Mamata Banerjee on Nano." Ravubha is a Congressman at heart, but he loves the policies of Modi, Vaghela's bete noire.
His Rs 100-crore Raviraj Foils factory next to the Nano plant, makes aluminium foils for the pharmaceutical industry. Now, he is eying the auto-parts business seriously.
As the largest land owner in Sanand taluk, he does have considerable clout among locals. ``Many brokers have descended but farmers here feel comfortable selling land only to me. I have built an image here. Acquiring 500-700 acres of land for me here is a cakewalk,'' says Ravubha, who worked as a clerk with Dena Bank from 1971 to 1996.
He plunged into realty business in 1981 with just Rs 10,000. As a developer, Ravubha charted industrial zones in Sanand and provided infrastructure, in the absence of any government support. Today, nearly 250 industrial units in Sanand exist on land sold by him. He also helped entrepreneurs obtain loans from Dena Bank.
He has been the president of the Sanand Industries Association for the last 15 years. Call it intuition about Nano, but just a couple of months back, he launched a 2.5 lakh square yard engineering park close to the Nano site. "I was lucky I didn't sell any plots," he laughs. In just two weeks since the Nano news broke out, the price of his plots have soared five times to a whopping Rs 3000 per sq yd. And inquiries are coming in a flood.
6 months ago