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He pays tax with pleasure

Vijaya Kumar displaying the `Samman Patra' .

"While one honest and sincere person could create millions or billions of rupees, no millions or billions of rupees could create an honest and sincere worker," Durgabai Deshmukh once remarked. These golden words were recalled at a recent function in Visakhapatnam to celebrate her birth anniversary.

Interesting coincidence it was that around that time the 49-year old founder and managing director of Vijay Nirman, Surapaneni Vijaya Kumar, was honoured by the Income-Tax Department with a "Samman Patra" for being "the highest tax payer". In his reply to the felicitations he received at that function, he explained how by paying the tax regularly and honestly one could enjoy freedom and happiness. "By paying the tax as fixed by the department instead of trying to find ways to evade it, one can get time and energy that would enable one to earn more with greater freedom and opportunity," he averred.

Twenty years ago Vijay Kumar launched Vijay Nirman, a construction company, with a modest capital of Rs. 20,000. An engineering graduate of Andhra University, with a first rank in the B.E. examination of 1975 and also in the M.E.(structures) course two years later, he ventured into the construction business with the encouragement of his father, Venkateswara Rao, a retired executive engineer, and with confidence in own abilities and integrity. His father-in-law, Ramachandra Rao, also an engineer, and wife Curie gave him moral support.

Vijay's uncanny knack of discovering talent and endearing humility secured for him the assistance of competent friends. He built up a team of able and dedicated engineers and workers. Vijay Nirman rapidly grew into one of the best construction companies with special skill and expertise in the diverse fields of piling, marine structures, power plants, equipment erection and electrical works. His classmate Vishnu (AVVV Prasad), A.S. Mahalle and Y.V. Ramana, all directors of projects, became key role players along with K. Seshadri, Mandalika and Shyam Prasad.

It is not the mere turnover of Vijay Nirman that attracts attention. From Rs 20,000 in 1982 to Rs.35 crores in 2002 is, of course, a huge leap. That the company has been paying heavy I-T, amounting to over Rs. 6 crores in the last few years, has raised its stature among banks and financial companies. More significant and commendable is the prestige it enjoys for quality work and promptness in execution.

Atria Towers in Bangalore, casting and launching of PSC box girders for MTP (Chennai), housing complexes at Mantralayam and Wadi, marine gas turbine overhauling complex in Vizag and residential complexes at several other places bear testimony to the company's record.

The project manager of Rolls-Royce Industrial Power(India) Ltd., V.P. Hodge commended its work for the Godavari Gas Power Plant and felt happy to certify confidently Vijay Nirman's capability to provide effective work support to any complex engineering project enterprise. High praise was also showered on the company when the challenging task of reconstructing the Kadalundi bridge in Kerala was completed four days before the deadline set by the Railway Board.

A train accident damaged the Kadalundi bridge in north Malabar area resulting in severe disruption of traffic and communications in Kerala. The environment was `hostile' (as conceded by the Railway authorities) with monsoon being in full swing. The Railway top brass was so relieved that officials congratulated not only Vijay Nirman, but themselves on choosing the Vizag company.

"They have done a great service to the Southern Railway and to Kerala" exulted the Chief Administrative Officer P.S. Subramaniam. "They are utterly patriotic with a lot of agenda for workmen's welfare and upliftment of poor people. In their enviable track record there was never a single dispute with the clients whatever it may be," said the CAO. Vijay Nirman is in the forefront of RCC/PSC construction and launching worth emulating by all others in the field," said the deputy Chief Engineer, Ravindran. A former chairman of the Railway Board described it as `no less than a miracle'.

There is no denying the fact that Vijay Kumar loves to share his wealth. Mother Teresa's words fit him like a cap: "Riches, spiritual or material, suffocate unless they are shared and properly utilized". Mahatma Gandhi had commended the Andhra spirit of sacrifice and service. Referring to Desoddharaka Kasinadhuni Nageswara Rao, the Mahatma aptly said that Rao "was never so happy as when he is giving". It is that spirit Vijay Kumar upholds.

A disciple of Swami Rama, Vijaya Kumar takes pleasure in circulating literature relating to his guru's writings and speeches.

`Sadhana', the school launched by him for all-round development of children, has trained boys and girls in yoga and every essential subject including farming and cooking for personality development.

Despite pressure of work, Vijay Kumar found time to pursue his academic interests and a year ago he received the doctorate degree in engineering from AU. Beneath the quiet exterior(he is a man of few words) lies the firm resolve to seek and pursue the goals he has set for himself without ever compromising on high standards and ideals. Indeed he has done us proud.


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