Gujarat’s metro man set to start a news channel

Sanjay Gupta quit IAS in 2002 but was brought back by Modi to head Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Metro Project.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad | Published: September 20, 2012 3:26:47 am

Sanjay Gupta quit IAS in 2002 but was brought back by Modi to head Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Metro Project

Gujarat’s own metro man,Sanjay Gupta,is set to turn into a media baron.

The 1985-batch former IAS officer,known for his close links with Chief Minister Narendra Modi,will soon launch a national news channel from Gujarat.

Gupta,who heads the ambitious Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar Metro Project and simultaneously runs his pan-India business conglomerate Neesa Group,has already started hiring for middle and junior positions for the channel.

“Our plan is at a very nascent stage. It would be mostly a tripartite arrangement between Neesa,financial investors and a team of management experts. However,we do not expect a launch to happen in the next one year,” Gupta told The Indian Express. Gupta is the promoter and a non-executive chairman of Neesa Group,which is presenting conducting the hiring process.

Gupta,who is a civil engineer from IIT Roorkee,says he already holds a licence to launch either a news or a non-news channel. “It is up to us when to activate this licence,” he adds.

The Neesa Group is currently in the midst of putting in place a core management team for the news channel. The trend of initial recruitment,mostly of technical staff,indicates that the channel would be a news channel in Hindi and will be launched some time in 2013.

Neesa Group at present operates 14 companies and has presence in hospitality,agritech,food-processing,real estate,education,information technology,infrastructure and spa & wellness.

The 49-year-old Gupta turned into a full-fledged entrepreneur after a 17-year stint in the bureaucracy. As a bureaucrat,Gupta is credited with turning around Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation into a blue-chip entity. He also played a key role in Gujarat State Petronet Limited (GSPL),establishing the intra-state gas transmission pipeline grid,setting up a power project of 160 MW capacity (gas-based) at Hazira,setting up Gujarat Info. Petro Limited and Gujarat State Fuel Management Company Limited as subsidiaries of GSPL.

Gupta resigned in 2002 to join the private sector as CEO in Adani Group. Subsequently,he set up his own ventures.

Ironically,his resignation from bureaucracy came after he was transferred to an insignificant post reportedly after he fell out with Modi,who had just become the chief minister.

In April 2011,Gupta was brought back by the Modi government as the chairman of the special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed to undertake the Rs 12,000-crore Metro Express between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad (MEGA).

“Whenever the (channel) project happens,we would function as a minority stakeholder while the majority will be held by financiers,” he added.

At present,the infrastructure for the channel which also includes a studio is also taking shape.

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