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Bengaluru? Wrecks global brand name - Biotech boss slams name change

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  • Published 8.01.06

Biotech diva Kiran Mazumdar Shaw is the latest to jump on to the bandwagon of Bangalore-based industry shoguns that has taken a sideswipe against state politicians.

Shaw is incensed with the move to change the name of Bangalore ? India’s Silicon Valley ? to Bengaluru.

“I am absolutely opposed to the name change. The Karnataka government should concentrate on spending money to bring about constructive change rather than wasting a huge amount of money in funding a petty, parochial political initiative,” she told The Telegraph from Mumbai.

“As it is the Karnataka government says it is short of funds. Why waste it on meaningless things?”

She added: “Bangalore has a global brand name worth billions of dollars. I would ask the state government to first plonk down a guarantee deposit before taking the risk of wrecking its brand name.”

Shaw said the state government had chosen the emotive issue to mask its failures. “The truth is that whenever a government considers itself weak in certain regions and thinks it is falling down, it whips up parochial sentiments.”

Shaw had caused a stir earlier in the day at an awards ceremony in Mumbai where she launched a diatribe against former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda who has been taking pot shots against industry doyens like N.R. Narayana Murthy of Infosys for grabbing land at throwaway rates.

Shaw, who received the “technology change agent” award instituted by Infosys Technologies and Wharton School, said there was a need for public-private partnership to spur development. “It is the state government’s role and responsibility to ensure basic infrastructure development just as it should provide basic health and education.

“Our (industry’s) role is to focus on business and economy; to take economic growth forward.”

Shaw rejected Deve Gowda’s charge that industry was grabbing land in the state. “Absolutely not. Industry utilises land constructively. The politicians grab land. We are not smart enough to play their games,” said the chairperson of Biotech India. “As people belonging to the state of Karnataka, we must and clearly have the right to demand constructive change.”

“Politicians,” she added, “have silenced all of us (industry). We also lack quorum. But whenever we try and raise our voice, we are dubbed as the urban elite that does not care about the rural masses.”

Recently, Infosys chairman Murthy had resigned as chairman of Bangalore International Airport Ltd alleging political interference.

A couple of years ago, Wipro chairman Azim Premji had attacked the state government for the poor infrastructure in Bangalore and threatened to establish his plants outside the state. He carried out the threat by establishing offices in Calcutta and Hyderabad.

Shaw indicated that she could follow Premji’s example. “Yes, in sometime I will also start looking at other cities for investment. I cannot take the risk of putting all my eggs in one basket,” she said, but did not set a time frame for making these investments.