An Open Letter to A M Naik, Chairman L & T on Sardar Patel statue

Statue of Sardar Patel and L & T role in it
Statue of Sardar Patel and L & T role in it

A substantial part of the prestigious contract for national memorial for Sardar Patel, has been outsourced by L & T to a company in China

To,

Shri A.M. Naik,
Group Executive Chairman,
Larsen & Toubro Ltd,
L & T House, N.M. Marg, Ballard Estate,
Fort, Mumbai 400001

Sub: Statue of Sardar Patel and L & T’s role in it

Dear Shri Naik,

At the outset, I would like to state that I am the huge fan of yours. From extremely humble beginnings at L & T you have not only risen up the ladder but also provided dynamic leadership to the Group and brought it to the level that it is today. Your long association with L & T has only witnessed the group gaining from strength to formidable strength.

In your address to the annual general meeting held on August 22, 2017, you made very emotional and patriotic references which moved me as a fellow patriot. You stated “Think of the names that strike a patriotic chord – Akash, Prithvi, Agni, BhahMos, Rohini, SLV – 3, ASLV, PSLV, Chandrayan, Mangalyaan, Mumbai High….the roll call of national triumphs is long and your company was part of them all.” You said the company has “provided technological impetus and manufacturing muscle for virtually every venture in nuclear power, space research, defense, hydrocarbon…”

You also said your father, who was a teacher and freedom-fighter, was your role model. “As an engineer, I felt I could best continue that family tradition by building products and projects that would help my country stand tall,” you observed.

It is learnt that the entire brass cladding comprising of 25,000 parts is being fabricated in China!!

Given this strong patriotic background, I was surprised nay shocked when I came to know that your company, which has bagged the prestigious contract for building a national memorial for Sardar Patel, has outsourced a fairly substantial part of the contract to a company in China!! It is learned that the entire brass cladding comprising of 25,000 parts is being fabricated in China!!

It is not only ironical, but downright insulting to the memory of the Iron Man, who is a symbol of national unity and integrity, that China, a country which invaded us in 1962 and more recently sought to humiliate us on the Doklam issue, will have a role in constructing the statue which is billed to be the tallest in the world. Do we lack the technology for brass cladding in India? Maybe commercial considerations weighed with your company’s decision to seek a Chinese partner for this mega project. But, then this is one project where commercial considerations ought not to have had any role. Our national self-respect is at stake. Your company’s decision to involve China is like rubbing salt into the wounds of lakhs of Indians, including your father, who sacrificed their everything for our freedom. Your company’s decision is an insult to the hundreds of Indian soldiers who laid down their lives while defending our motherland against Chinese invasion. In any case, it is a matter of national pride. Do you think China would have outsourced even a part of the work of building a statue of Mao Zedong to a foreign company? No way.

Please make sure that the statue is 100 % Indian in every respect.

Sir, I humbly appeal to you to forthwith renege the contract which your company has awarded to the Chinese firm. The loss incurred by L & T can be made through public contributions to your company. Please make sure that the statue is 100 % Indian in every respect.

I am appealing to your strong sense of patriotism.

Looking forward to a prompt and favorable response

Yours Sincerely,

S Balakrishnan,
Former Chief of Bureau,
The Times of India, Mumbai.


Note:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

S Balakrishnan

S Balakrishnan

Advocate and Senior Journalist who was formerly City Editor & Chief of Bureau of The Times of India, Mumbai. He has also served in the MumbaiMunicipal Council.
S Balakrishnan

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Why do we have to erect a statue or any monument of a type that needs to be engineered in an alien country, in this case a hostile China? And it is NOT TRUE that we do not have the ability amongst our own people. Just stand on the tip of Kanya Kumari and look out at the looming statues of Vivekananda and Thiruvalluvar that have withstood tsuamis and cyclones, and you will know.

    L and T itself has used INDIAN LABOUR to build some of the world’s best roads in other lands. And what about some of our own bridges and dams? There can be no reason for this irrational and anti-national decision of L and T except one: Fear of political interference and subversionary tactics by those who do not want to see the Sardar reinstated in people’s memory.

  2. Anything good is found anywhere outside our backyard there is nothing wrong in appreciating it. Our ego should not block is. But that doesn’t mean that we should not try out our skills. Commercial expediency should not be the only criteria in outsourcing. When we shout from all rooftops that we have the best technical skill with us for even the space programmes I don’t understand why L&T went to outsource this comparatively small job. The management ought to give a plausible explanation in public interest.

  3. There is nothing L&T cannot do and achieve. We knew nothing about making nuclear equipment and space vessels. We learnt those technologies. We learnt about manufacturing very heavy vessels for fertilizer factories. There must be other reasons for ordering in China. I know L&T fairly well and also its people. Right from 1956 when I made the first contact.

  4. The bronze cladding of Statue of Unity is a highly specialized activity which needs best of class precision and quality in terms of chemical composition and delivery. The company which has been awarded the job is one of the best in the world for the specific kind of work. None of the Indian company has this kind of capability. Statue of Unity holds highest level of importance for L&T and no stones will be left unturned to ensure a world class statue.

  5. I think L&T was chastised for it months back.
    While I appreciate author’s persistence here, I wish he had reached out to L&T management to obtain a credible response on making a terribly disagreeable choice so we can understand the full story.
    It is hard to make things click if you leave out the main actor in the equation, specially when we know that the main actor is a highly responsible party with a great track record. Do we know what L&T’s majboori is, if anyy? Hope the author makes the effort to find out and inform us. Thx.

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