‘A person of highest integrity in public life': CORPORATE SECTOR

Industry titans pay tributes to Jyoti Basu
KOLKATA,17th January, 2010: The corporate sector, including top industrialists and chambers of commerce, has expressed grief over the demise of Jyoti Basu.

Mr Rata N Tata, Chairman of the Tata Group: We view his passing with great sorrow. He was a great leader of the nation and of the State. He will be missed by all.
Mr B. K. Birla, Chairman of the B.K. Birla Group: Jyoti Basu was an outstanding personality not only in India but also in the world. He was a man of highest integrity in public life. He led a very simple life despite commanding enormous powers. He was a communist; I'm a capitalist and that way we were never very close as we did not see eye to eye on many issues, but we had mutual respect and admiration for each other. I met him on a few occasions, may be three to four times, but I was impressed. He was cordial and admirably frank and straightforward in his views. His death will leave a big void.

Mr S. K. Birla, Chairman of the S.K. Birla Group: With the passing away of respected Jyoti Basu, an era has passed. My personal interaction with him started way back in 1972 when I first called on him at his Hindusthan Park residence. He was in the Opposition at that time. Since then, I had met him several times on several occasions. Despite significant differences in our ideologies, we had extremely cordial relationship developed over the years and I found in him a sincere, serious and a very fine gentleman of the old world. I never had any problem in expressing my opinion freely on various issues though he did not always share my views. I feel a sense of personal bereavement and the State is poorer for the loss.

Mr B. M. Khaitan, Chairman of the B M Khaitan Group: Jyoti Basu was an icon and a perfect gentleman. He was very fair in his approach and would not hesitate to take any decision that he felt was good for the State. I recount my association with him since the 1980s when I was the Senior Steward of Calcutta Turf Club and he was the Chief Minister. I requested him for tax reduction and he agreed. The tax was reduced from 18 per cent to five per cent and the State benefited as a result. Subsequently, I interacted with him on several occasions and found him a man of certain principles. The void created by the absence of a person of his calibre and stature will be difficult to fill.
Mr R. P. Goenka, Chairman Emeritus of the RPG Group : The turmoil of a great life has finally come to an end. India is poorer on account of the demise of Jyoti Basu. In the late 1980s, when he came to know that we had acquired substantial holding in CESC, he was surprised. However, when we explained to him that power business needed resources, modern management and expertise to grow, he was very positive, even appeared to be quite receptive and suggested we draw up plans to tackle the power problem of the city. That was the beginning of a new relationship.

Mr Sanjeev Goenka, Vice-Chiarman of the RPG Group: Jyoti Basu brought stability and direction in his unparalleled tenure as the Chief Minister of West Bengal. We mourn the passing of an institution.

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