I am happy to write with a view towards motivating the younger generation. I would like to share with them the first 10 years of my working life and the four mantras that I have been following throughout my life - face challenges, work hard, master self-discipline and stick to the commitment.
When I completed my graduation in Hyderabad in 1960, my parents asked me to join the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam project, and I was entrusted with my father's share of the construction business there. With not much knowledge of the trade, I was unsure of myself but gradually learnt the ropes by facing challenges, working hard, developing very strict self-discipline and practising commitment - the four virtues that have remained constant. I started construction of the canal and the under tunnel at Nagarjuna Sagar Right Canal at Adigoppula and Chamarajapuram. Later on, I came to the dam site and took up the construction work of the main dam along with other contractors.
When the dam was getting built, the river used to flow in some parts of the dam. There was a Block 41 that had to be closed in summer because of the floods. The government wanted a reputed contractor to take up the work, but unfortunately, everybody was scared to undertake the same owing to the dangers of flooding. As I was the youngest of the lot, everybody encouraged me to go for it, and I took up the challenge. I used to get up in the middle of the night to plan the works at the site, supervise granite breaking at the quarry and get it transported to the dam site. In this way, I built the masonry structure and raised the block to the safest level every day before the floods came and thus completed my project in time.
A bigger project during my younger days was the Munneru Aqueduct at Khammam. It was designed by my company. Everyone discouraged me from taking the project as it was a large one and I did not have any previous experience. Among the competitors was a prominent company from Andhra Pradesh, owned by a popular man with strong political contacts. He had a virtual monopoly over such large-scale contracts. But I was not daunted by such challenges. I was determined to get the project through proper channels by using transparent and clean methods. My determination and commitment, aided by my hard work, resulted in my company being awarded the contract. I was only 30 at the time. From the beginning, I always liked to face challenges and take risks in a calculated way. Whatever others would normally be scared to do, I would take it up and handle and execute it confidently.
There were several accidents during the execution of the Nagarjuna Sagar Dam project. Once the bridge over the Krishna River connecting the left and the right bank collapsed, and there were many casualties. My wife used to be very worried about me as I would often go to the project site in the middle of the night. Although she had spent many anxious nights, she would also feel reassured that due to my fearless nature, I would overcome every challenge and deal with all kinds of complex problems amicably.
While I was working on the Munneru project, there were huge floods and all the equipment, and the raw material got washed away. A relative mocked our family, more out of envy than concern, saying that soon after I had started my business, everything had gone wrong. The equipment was badly damaged, and I had to reorganise things and mobilise another set, involving additional cost. In fact, I had to reorder the raw material drawing from my resources, but I did not give up even once. Those were the challenging times in my life.
Eventually, to everyone's amazement, I managed to complete that project successfully after overcoming many hardships. I did not charge the owner (government) any extra money or ask for additional time for the damages that had happened and gave my word that I would complete the works in time. Only self-discipline and commitment could bring about such courage to face any hurdle with ease. These important projects created history in my life and set the platform for me to take up bigger and much greater challenges.
The lesson that I would like to convey to readers is that one should never be afraid of taking on challenges at any stage in life. Also, there is no substitute for hard work, self-discipline and commitment to your job and those alone will make people believe in you. Be it a big or a small assignment, focus on it and put in all your efforts and work towards making it a success.
These very attributes strengthened my self-belief and gave me the confidence to build GVK Power & Infrastructure, which is now considered to be among the strongest and one of the best infrastructure developers in the country and the world.