On my way to the Airport with my wife to go to Jamnagar, an airforce base on the Pakistani border, a desert town, in a dry state. I wondered how could I get myself into this! Just 24 hrs later, sitting at Jamnagar Airport on my way back to Mumbai, I was thinking…Wow! what a mind blowing experience I would have actually 'missed out' if I had turned around the previous morning and gone to my office instead.

Although, I have travelled millions of kilometers and have managed and consulted for businesses around the world for a quarter of a century, the Reliance Petrochemical Project at Jamnagar was well worth the visit.

The worlds largest grassroots refinery with a capacity of 27 million tons a year was built in a record time of 36 months & commissioned in January this year. This including a recovery from a devastating cyclone which hit when the plant was half way through. The recovery took a miraculous 12 days to bring it back on track., as opposed to 90 days estimated by US consultants!

Reliance petrochemical is the transformation of 7500 acres of land into a wondrous and incredible technological and infrastructural achievement that speaks of the capability we have in this country of achieving the impossible. The world's largest grassroots refinery, this means that while they may be larger refineries around the world in terms of total capacity, they have become larger, by subsequent addition of capacity, this refinery was built with this large initial start-up capacity.

The refinery was conceptualized when the price of crude oil per barrel was US $ 10. Today it is US $ 30, yet the project is viable, reflecting foresight and business acumen of such challenges including the imminent liberalization of price controls and imports under W.T.O. regulations. The capacity, product mix and technology makes it a cost effective and viable venture on a global scale and in a global market place.

The completeness of the infrastructure from security to fire fighting to environmental protection.

A five kilometer jetty out in the ocean followed by a 12 kilometer pipeline deep into the ocean for very large crude oil carriers to unload crude oil.

To build such infrastructure within a matter of 36 months that too in India out in the remote desert near the border of Pakistan.? They just cannot be Indians only the Japanese or the Germans can such things right ? wrong it was a highly dedicated team of Indians who did it.

Timing, technological wonder, commercial viability and state of the art modernness built in a record time. What more can we ask for from an Indian company… but wait there is more.

One of the most well designed and comfortable townships a modern school, a civic centre with facilities like a playground, a olympic size swimming pool, badminton courts, squash courts, a library and a gymnasium the likes of which are rarely seen in India. A project with all supporting infrastructure, for a comfortable life for the families. Millions of trees planted too, which are already beginning to blossom!

The Reliance petrochemical project is an emotional monument built by Mukesh Ambani supported by his wife, Neeta on the outskirts of the town where his mother comes from & not far from where his father hails. The lady has such amazing dedication and spends half her time between Jamnagar and Mumbai, helping her husband create this dream out in the desert.

Thus not all of India's new 'temples' of the 21st Century are going to be in the IT industry. There are others that are needed and will be built and it is the determination and the inspiration of the likes of Mukesh who will do it.

What is the motivation that make people like these committed with such single minded dedication and devotion and personal sacrifice when they don't seem to need it personally is a question mark. The understanding of human motivation is yet to be well understood, but it is fortunate that there are those who have it and will therefore contribute to the progress of societies.

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