Uday Garudachar’s candidature on a BJP ticket from Chickpet came as a surprise for many. While he has previously stood as an independent in Bihar for Rajya Sabha seat, Garudachar has not been politically active in the city, just as he states being a BJP member for the last six years.
Uday Garudachar has an Electronic Engineering degree from Bangalore University. Maverick Holdings, an entity for which Uday Garudachar had been the managing director, has been involved in many government projects including affordable housing projects. Garuda Mall, one of the early malls in Bengaluru, was built by Maverick Holdings on BBMP land given to it by the BBMP to construct a public parking lot. The issue is under Lokayukta enquiry and the mall has been in the news for tax and revenue evasion.
Maverick Holdings was involved in evictions of EWS residents at Ejipura. Uday Garudachar has since stepped down from the role of Managing Director of Maverick Holdings, though his wife continues to be among the board of directors.
Citizen Matters caught up with Uday Garudachar in a telephonic conversation, to understand his entry into politics better.
Excerpts from the interview:
What are the problems faced by your constituency?
The basic infrastructure is not upto the mark. We have noted that despite there being lot of work done by our party, by our previous MLA, there were some lacunae. We would like to address these problems.
In terms of infrastructure, there are some problems pertaining to the underground drainage system. This has to be addressed because the levels have not been maintained appropriately. So the flow of water – the gravitational flow – is not up to the mark. So we would really have to address that.
Traffic has become a universal problem of Bangalore city, because of improper road planning. Now I would like to tell you we were supposed to have a signal-free movement of traffic on the KR circle, and that was during the Congress regime. Everything was supposed to have gone in the most appropriate fashion. They put up some magic box. Has it addressed the problems? It is for all of us to see. Unless you have an appropriate representative of yours, it would be very difficult for us to address. Because unless they have a technical background, it becomes difficult for them to understand.
What have you done in your constituency that qualifies you to be its representative?
This is not a criteria for you to enter politics. What I would like to tell you is is that all these years, I have been a citizen of the city of Bangalore. My main office is in the Basavangudi area which comes under the Chickpet constituency. We would have done some charitable work, definitely not any work pertaining to development and infrastructure because that is not in our domain. I am sure you would agree with me.
When did you join the BJP and why have you chosen Chickpet- party or personal decision?
Six years ago. It was not a personal decision, it was a decision from the party.
Why did you enter politics? What is the motive?
Very nice question. For this I would like to answer, I take human life as a circle. I would like to turn slightly philosophical on this issue, okay? The first 25 years is for you to learn, the next 25 years is for you to earn and the minute you touch that 50 mark, you have to return. In the process, I would like to do something for the society. That is my intention because I know what the problems are. It is not that I could solve the problems overnight. It would take time. But, the initial effort, the initial thrust shall be done with absolute promptitude [sic].
My motivation in politics is my own ethics, madam. And our leader, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and I do have a couple of very good leaders- Mr. Narendra Modi, then Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi and then our own Anant Kumar is also a good person who has dedicated himself to the cause of the society… I would also like to emulate our late Indira Gandhi, who was an absolute nationalist.
Is there any motivation/ model figure to follow for you in politics?
My own ethics and our leader, Narendra Modi and Indira Gandhi.
Where do you see yourself in next five years?
In the next five years, I would like to work as a humble member of the legislative assembly, giving every input into the bills that will be passed, taking part in the development of my city, my constituency, thereby adding to the growth of my city and then on, look at what other avenues, what other responsibilities my party gives me.
What are your hobbies?
I’m an avid gymnast, I mean in the morning I have a yoga session and in the evening I go to the gym. I would like to keep my body healthy, and thereby my mind and my thoughts healthy. I have to carve out time, because much of my business is associated with the government projects, so I have just come away from the business and I have donned another outfit.
Family details (who and what they do – spouse, children)
I have a wife and two kids. I live with my parents as a joint family where we have learned to respect the elders and how to tutor the juniors. My wife is also on the Board of Directors of my company. She’s an MSc graduate. My two kids are both MBAs. I was married early in life and have settled both my children.
It has been said by the previous legislator that Chickpet has the maximum number of slums. How are you going to handle it?
No no no, this does not have the maximum number of slums. There are slums, the number of inhabitants living in the slums are about 50 odd thousand people. I definitely have a soft corner for these guys, I would like to champion their cause. I would like to give them a good housing facility, give them some good infrastructure and so on. What is the infrastructure they need? They would like to have a proper road to move around and the water facility, the electricity and your rapid organic system.
The traffic situation v/s commerce, as somebody from a business community.
I know what the problems of business are, what a businessman faces. I would like to look at it from a politico-commercial angle. Because politics is essentially the service of the society. We collect taxes from the people and look at various infrastructure we have to build for their well-being. You see, politics is not a game where you go and sit on some seat and try to rule over somebody. This is a democratic government we have; we are always the servants of the people. So to don the role of a servant of the people it is very difficult.
Many politicians are saying that Bangalore’s growth has to be stopped to rectify crucial infrastructural problems. As a developer, could you comment on this?
I am sorry, that is not the way. That is what the Congressman says. My philosophy is Bangalore will grow, it has to grow, it shall grow. I would like to have a sustained growth. I would like to have a proper growth for the city of Bangalore, not a haphazard growth. Right? In the western countries, people would first look at the infrastructure, then only they would go for growth. Here it is vice-versa. They grow and then look at infrastructure.
How would you define sustainable growth?
Sustainable growth is something where you know it has to be a planned growth. Where the growth can be sustained.
Please understand, apart from participating in the city’s governance, we would also like to have a lot of other things. breaks for a while.
Three reasons why the people of your constituency should vote for you.
It is their choice. I would solicit their support because I am a businessman, I am an educated person, I am a man of some reputation in society. I have done what I have to do for myself; I am purely coming into politics for absolute social service. There are no fringe benefits that I’d like to look at.
If you come to power, will you ensure that allotment of G-category sites is not misused?
I will never ask for a G-Category site. Because I have my own house and I do have another house for my daughter. There is no problem, I will not ask anything from the government. As for G-Category sites are concerned, G-category sites are given to, I mean it is not that, even the MLAs, MP and MLCs all of these guys are expected to get a site. They are authorised to get a site. Apart from that, people who have excelled in their respective areas, they are expected to get a site. I would like to, you know, my role in the distribution of G-category sites would only be recommendatory in nature, a person who has excelled in all aspects in some field, would only be recommended by me, to the government to allot a G-category site. Do you agree with me personally?
If elected, will you support commercial or residential development in areas where there is neither BWSSB water supply or bore well permissions?
Please understand, the haphazard growth of the city of Bangalore, you know, we have to understand as to how much of MLD water is required for the city of Bangalore apart from all other places in the state of Karnataka. The evaluation is very important. The evaluation of electricity required is also very important. All these things have to be taken into consideration and then, the development has to happen. Whether there is a spare capacity.
No, not if it is a large-scale development. Ours is a very cramped place. Chickpet is a very cramped place. So the development here has to be sustained and very, very, very planned. If you cannot be in a position to do that, then the system doesn’t function.
Are there any cases pending against you?
Nothing. I am law-abiding, peace-loving citizen.
What is your current role in Maverick Holdings?
Maverick Holdings I am [sic] the Managing Director, but I have resigned from the post. Because we have some government projects, so I’m not supposed to be holding a position.
Given a chance, would you have handled the Ejipura issue differently?
How would we handle this differently? You should understand, this is just politics that is happening. None of you people are able to understand what the real thing is. I would like to elaborate this for media. Please understand, in 1991, the corporation of the city of Bangalore announced that it would be building houses for the economically weaker sections, availing loans from HUDCO. They availed the loans from HUDCO to construct houses for 1312 houses for the EWS. It was handed over to them in 2003. Around 2001, they handed it over. Around 2003, there were cracks in the building and the buildings collapsed. Now, THEY WERE THE ORIGINAL ALLOTTEES of these houses. They are the people who have paid money and got into the system. They have been given houses which are not in accordance or in commensurate with the amount of money they have paid. Such was the situation. OKAY?
Not the city corporation but the contractors who did it. What happened with this was, the BBMP, which is the civic body, decided they should invite tenders under a PPP to put up buildings for the EWS, because under the Rajeev Awas Yojana and under the Rajeev Gandhi schemes with the Government of India, PPP is the most preferred route. So these guys went and floated a tender. Is it wrong for me to participate in a tender? 31 people participated in the tender, three of us were the finalists. Two of us, the person who was the successful bidder did not qualify technically, he was disqualified. And then, once he was disqualified, there was a problem, he went to the courts. In the courts he fought the case, he lost the case, the High Court dismissed his case with a heavy cost. It went to the Division Head, it was dismissed. Then, the original allottees who went to the court, they said there are a lot of people who are not paid the money, who are encroachers on the site. The HC Division Heads took a decision that the encroachers should be evacuated by the police, by the BBMP using police help and the building be handed over to us to commence the construction.
Now, when the people were evacuated or ejected, appropriate proper housing will be constructed for them. These are the guys, have they paid the money for constructing eligible houses? No. In what way are these people entitled then?
Just a question, sir, weren’t these people given Identity cards? Biometric cards by the BBMP that has also said that they are eligible for housing?
Madam, do you know what is meant by lease-cum-sale-deed which is being executed? And the identification card that this person holds? Madam, this has been decided by the High Court, that they cannot have houses in that place.
Putting aside the case history, in the case of R&R, can you give us some comments?
Listen ma’am, the High Court gave a direction to us – encroachers should be evacuated from the site. Accordingly, they were evacuated by the BBMP taking police help. Now, I was asked to give 30,000 to the original allottees who were residing there. I gave 30,000 to more than 300 people residing there. And all these people, on humanitarian grounds, I have given 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 to all of them. Now these people are playing politics, because everybody knows that I was contesting elections.⊕
To read about the performance of incumbent MLA of Chikpet, click here.
To know more about Chikpet, click here.
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