Far­sighted Vi­sion

Business Traveler (USA) - - DESTINATIONS -

As you drive along, you’ll no­tice a large “DLF”stamped on most of the high-rise build­ings. More than any other per­son, it is Kushal Pal Singh, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of DLF – In­dia’s largest com­mer­cial real-es­tate de­vel­oper – who is be­hind the city’s build­ing boom.

“When the idea first took hold of me that a world-class city could be built on the vast tracts of des­o­late land at the foot of the Araval­lis in Haryana, no­body took me se­ri­ously. Re­ac­tions ranged from open ridicule to con­cern for my san­ity,”wrote Singh in his au­to­bi­og­ra­phy, What­ever the Odds: The In­cred­i­ble Story Be­hind DLF. Yet to­day, the com­pany owns nearly 3,000 acres of this in­dus­trial re­gion.

While car man­u­fac­turer Maruti Udyog (now Maruti Suzuki) was the first com­pany to lay its foun­da­tions here when it opened in 1982, it was DLF’s ac­qui­si­tion of land at the end of the 20th cen­tury that gave in­vestors con­fi­dence in the area’s po­ten­tial.

The roots of Singh’s vi­sion can be traced back to a chance meet­ing in 1980 with the then soon-to-be prime min­is­ter, Ra­jiv Gandhi. Bump­ing into each other in an iso­lated part of Haryana, Gandhi heard Singh ex­plain his vi­sion for Gur­gaon. In his book, Singh re­called:“He be­came in­ter­ested and pressed me on the is­sue. ‘What is hold­ing it up and why don’t you do it?’This one in­ci­dent was to trans­form Gur­gaon from a ru­ral wilder­ness into an in­ter­na­tional city.”

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