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Friday, August 13, 2010


The turnaround of Hotel Palash in Bhopal can be called spectacular even by the most conservative estimates. The hotel that did a turnover of only Rs seventy five lakhs in 2002-3 touched almost Rs seven crores in 2009-10, a jump of almost ten times in seven years. This turnaround brought back memories of Hotel Ashok in New Delhi that despite posting its lowest ever turnover of thirty six crores in 2002-3 turned around and posted a fifty eight crores turnover in the subsequent year, despite 9/11 being a party stopper for almost everyone in the tourism sector.

The same was true of the corporation, the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation rose from the ashes to become the leader of the tourism sector in the country. A loss making entity, first wiped all its losses and then emerged to become a successful business enterprise. The state, beautiful though it always had been, also emerged from behind the shadows and came to be regarded in the same league as the established states of Rajasthan and Kerala in so far as tourism is concerned.

The Madhya Pradesh stint reinforced in me the belief that nothing is impossible to achieve. That India can, with a lot of effort of-course, discard the "developing" stamp and enter the "developed" league is a thought that engages the mind every now and then. That the question is not of shortage of funds, but inadequate application of traits like will power, commitment and integrity is also a thought that cannot be discarded.

People often criticize the public sector on grounds of non-performance and cite sarkari ownership as the root cause. Being witness to many public sector turnarounds and my actual participation in two, has led me to believe that the shades of ownership are not relevant, what is relevant though is the CEO of the enterprise. He can take it forward or sink it, irrespective of the share holding pattern of the company.

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