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People, places and products

Here is a take on people, place and products doing the round these days.

Print Edition: July 11, 2010

K.M. Chandrasekhar
Prime Minister's Chosen Man

K.M. Chandrasekhar, a 1970 batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre, is the first bureaucrat who will be Cabinet Secretary for four years instead of the stipulated two years. The government has amended the rules to give a second one-year extension to the 62-year-old, who has been holding office since 2007. So, no bureaucrat from the batches of 1971, 1972 and 1973 can aspire to the top post in babudom.

Chandrasekhar's first one-year extension was given in June 2009, a month after he made his master move: Even before the 2009 Lok Sabha election results were out, he told all secretaries at the Centre to prepare a 100-day agenda for their ministries or departments. So, when the UPA came back to office, it had action plans ready!

— Puja Mehra

Vijay Mallya
His Headiest Brew

A few eyebrows went up when flamboyant billionaire Vijay Mallya said recently that he was familiar with the rural areas of Karnataka. The fact is that the 54-year-old liquor-to-aviation baron has not only toured across his home state, but has even addressed public meetings in chaste Kannada during the 2004 Assembly polls. An elected Rajya Sabha member then, Mallya had taken a deep plunge into electoral politics as the Working President of the Janata Party.

However, all 155 candidates fielded by him lost, and Mallya shied away from a similar adventure in 2008. Now, he has come out tops from his latest electoral battle: He has won a Rajya Sabha seat from the Karnataka Assembly. Mallya is neck deep in liquor, aviation, Formula One and IPL affairs, yet the brew of politics seems to be the headiest of them all for him. As he tweeted the Kingfisher jingle after the victory, "Ooo la la la le o!"

— K.R. Balasubramanyam

Magni M24 Orion Gyrocopter
Stuck in a Jam? Try a Gyrocopter

Sector 6, a Delhi-based company, is about to start importing gyrocopters from Italian manufacturer Magni. A gyrocopter is a hybrid between an aeroplane and a helicopter, flies lower and is easier to land. The M24 Orion has a range of around 500 km and, with a top speed of around 150 km per hour, is as fast as a luxury car. That, too, in the traffic of our metros. To acquire one, you need to go through a bureaucratic process, but these small-flying machines might make flying a lot more accessible.

PRICE: Rs 45 lakh approx. (permissions cost extra).

— Kushan Mitra

Norway
Land of the Midnight Sun

If you are looking for a holiday where travel is interspersed with history and dramatic landscape, Norway is the place for you. And the best time to visit is July and August when the weather is the warmest. Norway is characterised by fjords or deep water trenches between cliffs rising out of the sea. Summer is also the season for music and theatre festivals. While in Norway, don't miss the stave churches built of wood, including the country's oldest wooden church, Urnes Stave Church.

R.S. Sodhi
Amul Gets New Helmsman

India's only billion-dollar cooperative, Amul, has a new boss. Last fortnight, Amul Chairman P. Bhatol accepted the resignation of Managing Director B.M. Vyas and appointed R.S. SODHI, 53, as ‘Incharge Managing Director'. (A full-time MD can be named only after the Board accepts the resignation of Vyas.) Sodhi is an Amul lifer.

After graduating from the first batch of the IRMA or Institute of Rural Management, Anand, in 1982, he joined Amul and rose to the position of Chief General Manager. Amul will need all his marketing prowess to hold off challengers like Danone and Britannia, who are eager to get a slice of Amul's business.

— T.V. Mahalingam

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