Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 42

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KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
The license raj?What’s that?
–byDhirajlal SMehta
In thebeginning, wewere licensed tomake
1,000 scooters andauto-rickshawspermonth. In
1962, weapplied to increasemanufacturing capacity
to30,000 scooters and6,000auto-rickshaws per
year. In1963weapplied to increase capacity from
24,000 scooters to48,000. In1970weasked for
100,000. Eventually, in1971, thegovernment
approvedan increase to48,000. But itwas
meaningless because theapplication remained
pendingwith theMinistryof CompanyAffairs for
clearanceunder theMonopolies andRestrictive
TradePracticesAct, 1969. Itwas just another
ploy todelay further.
Rahulbhaiwasgiven the taskof replying to the
MRTPCommission.
In themeanwhilewehad increasedproduction
beyond the licensed limit, andwere liable to
prosecution. Rahulbhai toldme, “I’m ready togo
to jail just asmyparentsdid for thenation.” Three
directors resignedon that point though I hadobtained
anopinion from India’s topmost
lawyer that increasingproduction
isnot acrime, increased installed
capacity isagainst the law.
OneeveningKamalnayanji came
tomycabin. Itwas9pm.He
askedme “What areyoudoingat
this time?” I replied, “preparing
anote forMRTPCommission.”
He remarked, “Youmay take
all the troublebut youarenot
going toget expansion.” I replied,
“Becauseof your politicswe
maynot getwhatwewant but I
want toprove thatwecanget it
recommendedonmerit.”
Thehearings started.
TheMRTPCommissionasked
formany,manydetails,most of them irrelevant.
In1971,when itwasover, thechairman toldme,
“Yougaveall the informationwewanted, even if
weasked for irrelevant data. TheBajajsare
completely transparent.”
DhirajlalMehtawithShivaji Bhave (VinobaBhave’sbrother) and IndiraGandhi, 1982
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